Zeus, the blind starry-eyed owl

Photos courtesy of Wildlife Learning Center

The remarkable owl named Zeus has had a harrowing journey since being found blind and emaciated on the front porch of a house in central California.

Following his discovery, he was taken to a wildlife rehabilitation center, where he was nursed back to health and diagnosed with a slew of ophthalmological conditions, including conjunctivitis, corneal degeneration, endotheliopathy, anterior uveitis and capsular cataracts. The star-like flecks in his eyes are specifically caused by fibrin and blood pigment clots.

Zeus, the blind starry-eyed owl, on a log

Although he's otherwise healthy and pain-free, Zeus has only 10 percent of his vision, meaning it's virtually impossible for him to hunt and survive alone in the wild.

Luckily, after he was deemed non-releasable by the veterinarians at the rehab clinic, he was offered a "lifetime home" at the Wildlife Learning Center, a wildlife sanctuary and educational center just north of Los Angeles in Sylmar, California.

Zeus, the blind starry-eyed owl, next to an owl plushie

Biologists and staff at the center are understandably smitten with this starry-eyed avian, and they feel that "it’s not just a responsibility to care for him, but also a privilege."

As a nocturnal animal, Zeus is most active at night and spends his days snoozing atop a hollowed tree trunk in the center's gift shop. Because he's so still and peaceful, visitors often don't notice he's there until a staff member points him out.

He may be calm and diminutive, but his caretakers say he has a distinctly curious personality and nature that has inspired many people over the years.

Constellation eyes

"It’s remarkable that Zeus’ disability brings so much awareness, sensitivity, and concern, for not just screech owls, but all types of wildlife, as well as the environment we share," David Riherd, co-founder of the Wildlife Learning Center, explains in an email. "Zeus is truly an ambassador for wildlife."

Zeus on a piece of wood

Follow the Wildlife Learning Center on Facebook for more updates, and if you would like to contribute to the long-term care of Zeus and other displaced animals, consider donating to the center's GoFundMe campaign.

Zeus the blind owl

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Catie Leary is a photo editor at Mother Nature Network. Follow her on Twitter and Google+.

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Catie Leary ( @catieleary ) writes about science, travel, animals and the arts.

This blind, starry-eyed owl will warm your heart
The constellation-like eyes of this screech owl are actually the result of visual impairments.