Our Grand Duke is going blind and needs surgery

Help save our Grand Duke’s sight

Bubo the Eurasian Eagle Owl (Eeo) was born in a living room and hand raised from day one. He was used for falconry a few years in his youth. He wowed thousands with his silent aerial flights above the public for 18 years. He would melt your heart if you met him. He hugs you when you walk with him. He cares about people so much that once a volunteer who was having chemo ended up feeding Bubo on the glove. We managers could “feel” Bubo sending him energy.

Bubo is the largest owl species in the world; twice the size of any owl in the United States. Unfortunately, Bubo quickly loses his sight due to cataracts. Normally, he could see a rabbit hiding in the brush 3 km away, day or night. His eyes still react to light, but his right eye has severe visual impairment due to a cataract covering it, and now his left eye is developing one. An owl’s sight and hearing are the 2 factors that allow it to survive in the wild. Losing one means a slow death for a wild bird. Luckily, Bubo is part of a non-profit organization in Missouri that has been using birds for education since 1970. He won’t have to worry about not finding food, because we’re waiting tooth and nail. on our birds!

Notice the cloudiness over the right eye

In humans, we think of cataracts that develop with age. Bubo is only 18, and the longest-lived eagle owl in captivity lived to be 68. We had one of our vets draw blood to make sure there was no underlying problem causing the cataract. It could be hereditary as blood tests looked good.

Bubo’s cataract completely covers his right eye and develops one in his left eye. Because it affects his peripheral vision, a noise to the right will startle him – he will twitch or rip the glove off. Sometimes it misses a branch it is flying towards. Eventually, he will need to be placed in a smaller cage to prevent him from breaking a wing or a leg. If he were a wild owl, losing his sight would mean he would starve.

Watch the video below of Bubo flying over the audience


Every penny of this fundraiser will support Bubo’s eye restoration, as well as post-operative prescriptions and care. Postoperative care will cost a few hundred dollars; many eye drops to prevent infection and cystoid macular edema (blood vessels in your retina leak fluid into a part of your eye called the macula and cause a buildup of fluid that causes your macula to swell or edema in the eye ).

The birds of Wings of Love, Inc. (WoL) Bird Shows and Rescue have been presented to the public since 1970. Yvonne Patterson-Burbach is a horticulturist and former rainforest photojournalist. She brings people closer to nature with her birds by reminding them of the natural gifts we share with the animal world. WoL birds roller skate, ride a high wire bike, spell words, hoist the flag, sing songs, talk at the right time and much more.

At the end of each show, Bubo flies low over the heads of the audience participants. It flies so low that people think its legs are touching the top of their head. In reality, it is the leather jesses that allow handlers to keep it on the glove while walking it.

Watch the video below as our female eagle owl Swoop flies over an audience


WoL employees nicknamed Bubo “FeatherPuppy” because he is so affectionate. He delivered wedding rings to the bride and groom. During owl breeding season (January – March) while carrying its delicious dinner (a thawed rat), it comes beside its surroundings, closes its big eyes and offers it to its masters by gently moving its head high downstairs. . That’s what he would do if he brought food to the chicks in the nest.

The urgency in Bubo’s fundraising is that as soon as the cataract in his left eye develops, the veterinary ophthalmologist wants to operate on both of his eyes. Birds are very delicate; some birds die on the operating table and some never come out of anesthesia. So doing surgery is a bit safer. In veterinary care, they don’t have the machinery to develop intraocular lenses to put on their eyes after cataract removal, like surgeons do with humans. They tried this on wild owls but they slipped causing great pain.

Bubo and most other owls see with binocular vision, which gives them the ability to see height, width, and depth. Some owls don’t need amazing eyesight to hunt, such as barn owls that locate their prey by acoustic location in total darkness. Researchers actually blindfolded barn owls, releasing mice to see if they would catch them. They narrowly missed the first try, but the second attempt caught the mice.

We started putting drops in Bubo’s eyes daily. After his operation he will have many drops to prevent infections etc. to place in his eyes. We try to get him used to it. It’s easier to put them in the right eye where he can’t see. The cost of antibiotics and eye drops will be quite high.

In closing, we would like to remind you not to use rodenticides. It kills more than mice and rats. It kills all kinds of birds of prey, cats and dogs that feed on dying or dead animals. Used rodenticides are twice as painful for untargeted victims.

The eye doctor said Bubo’s vision will never be great, but he will see like most of us see without our glasses. Even that little bit of vision, compared to what he’s been used to, will be a blessing. We can’t afford it without the help of our friends – that is YOU! Allow us to thank you in advance.


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