Who, who, who could that be hopping around Suncor’s ethanol plant in St. Clair, Ontario? That’s what the team at the site were asking last July when they found an injured snowy owl in need of help. 

The St. Clair Ethanol Plant has a lot of corn products on site, which are used to make the low-carbon fuel that is blended into Petro-Canada gasoline, making it a popular attraction for many creatures looking for a quick meal. 

It’s common to see eagles, owls and other birds of prey, but they generally fly or perch up high. Sadly, this unfortunate snowy visitor had fractured its wing, leaving it unable to fly.

Thanks to the quick response of some employees and support from a couple of local organizations, including the Bluewater Centre for Raptor Rehabilitation (BCRR) and The Owl Foundation, the bewildered bird was able to make a full recovery. 

A white owl in a bird cage. Its beak is open and it’s looking at the camera.
An injured owl was found at Suncor’s St. Clair Ethanol Plant. Thanks to the team’s quick response and support from local wildlife organizations, the feathered friend made a full recovery.

I was so impressed with our team’s response,” says Micaela Streeter, Director of Ethanol Operations for the plant. “From the moment we were alerted to the bird’s presence everyone helped however they could. The care everyone showed for this injured bird, is in line with the way I see people at the site care for one another every day.

After being picked up by the BCRR, the owl was given treatment and an examination that found a swollen wrist joint and an open fracture involving the metacarpal bones, which are like a human’s wrist and finger attachments. This diagnosis meant that the owl’s wing was able to heal on its own

The injured owl was then sent to The Owl Foundation for rehabilitation and recovery, before being released into the wild in November 2021, near where it was originally found at the Suncor plant.

“When I get to experience our team helping a bird or animal like this, it really reinforces that I have the best job in the world,” says Lisa Nauta, Team Leader of Environment, Health & Safety (EH&S), at the St. Clair Ethanol Plant. “I’m so thankful that we could help keep this owl safe and help it return to good health.”

Although no one knows for sure, employees of the St. Clair plant say they often see a watchful owl sitting on a light post at the plant, which they like to imagine is the same feathered friend