Southern California

Contra Costa County Wildlife Center Gives Injured Owl Prosthetic Leg

A Contra Costa County Wildlife Center is making history Thursday by creating what’s believed to be the first prosthetic leg for an owl.

The injured one-legged burrowing owl could soon be completely mobile again thanks to Walnut Creek’s creation.

"She’s a big spitfire," said Emma Molinare from the Lindsay Wildlife Experience. "She moves really well with one foot and she’s a really good patient."

The burrowing owl does her best to get around despite doing so on just one foot. She came to the Lindsay Wildlife Experience in February after losing a limb in what the vets believe was an animal attack at a Southern California zoo.

"They contacted us and said, 'hey we have this bird she only has one leg do you want her?'" Molinare said.

The folks at Lindsay, who specialize in animals with disabilities, didn’t hesitate and began brainstorming right away on ways to help her.

"I thought we can do something really special here because that’s what we do," Molinare said. "We focus on these cases and I thought if you’re missing a leg let’s give a leg back."

With the help of some innovative and generous engineers, they came with what’s believed to be the first prosthetic leg ever made for a raptor.

The owl’s been trying out the first prototype, which isn’t quite perfect.

It’s a tad too long and not quite the right design and the team says it might take several more tries to perfect it, but their hopeful the 8-year-old owl will soon be on two feet again.

"I want to see her acting like a normal bird again, what can help this bird might be able to help many other birds in the future," Molinare said.

Contact Us