The Ural owl (Strix uralensis) is the biggest forest-living owl in Austria; however, it became extinct in Austria through poaching and habitat loss more than half a century ago. The birds examined in the present study were breeding pairs from the reintroduction project with the aim of determining exploratory plasma biochemistry reference intervals in Ural owls and evaluating the amount of biological variation between seasons, sexes, and ages. A total of 45 birds were sampled, including 13 adult males, 14 adult females, and 18 juvenile birds. Remarkably, almost all of the analytes showed significant differences between the subgroups, primarily between seasons, followed by age and sex. Only creatinkinase, glucose, lactatdehydrogenase, and triglycerides did not show any significant variations. Despite partitioning of reference values into subgroups according to biological variation diminishing the number of reference individuals in the respective groups, the resulting smaller reference intervals will improve medical assessment. The results of the present study once again demonstrate that significant seasonal fluctuations must be expected and considered in the interpretation. It can be assumed that these differences are probably even greater in free-range birds with considerable changes in food quantity and quality during and between years.
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