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The snowy owl that caused D.C. residents to play hookey from work just to catch a glimpse of it—-only to reportedly get struck by a bus a few days later—-is now at the Raptor Center at the University of Minnesota for treatment.
“A rehabilitation center on the East coast who had been caring for the owl reached out to us because of our international reputation for replacing damaged feathers,” Julia Ponder, executive director of The Raptor Center, said in a release.
The owl had damaged wing feathers replaced in the clinic yesterday afternoon through a process called imping, which will hopefully allow the owl to deftly fly and survive in the wild. Feather shafts are hollow and, through this process, feathers are fitted, inserted, and glued, using bamboo as a connector between the bird and new feathers, the release explains.
“We’re uncertain as to what caused the singed-like appearance to the owl’s feathers, but it does resemble patients we have treated who burned their flight feathers after flying over an intense heat source, such as a methane burner,” said The Raptor Center clinic manager Lori Arent, an expert in imping.
The snowy owl takes a test flight early next week. For the owl’s sake, let’s hope it doesn’t fly back to D.C.
Photo by Perry Stein.