SOUTHINGTON — A local bird rehabilitator helped rescue a wounded barred owl last month and released it into the wild recently.
Jayne Neville, of the Mount Vernon Songbird Sanctuary, said the owl was badly injured by a car on Dec. 27.
Neville and Christine Cummings, founder of the bird rehabilitation center A Place Called Hope, said the owl’s recovery was remarkable.
Both of its eyes were damaged during the accident, but one has fully recovered and some sight remains in the other.
“I hope this girl goes on to have a long life. She got a second shot at it,” Neville said while releasing the owl near Mount Southington Ski Area Wednesday. “Any bird that survives a car strike is a miracle.”
As part of the rehabilitation, Cummings said the owl was tested with live prey and was able to catch food.
Barred owls are frequently struck by cars due to their hunting habits and physiology, according to Cummings. An owl’s eyes are fixed in its skull and the bird focuses on whatever it’s trying to catch to the exclusion of other objects such as oncoming cars. Roads provide good, clear fields of vision for owls looking for frogs, mice and other small animals to eat.
“That means they’re in the roadways with all of us driving,” Cummings said.
Neville said after the female owl’s rescue, she was called to the rescue of another wounded owl found at Mount Southington. After taking a snowmobile ride up the mountain, she found a badly hurt male owl that had been injured for days. It couldn’t be saved, Neville said, and was euthanized.
“We’re pretty sure it’s her mate,” Neville said, referring to the female owl released Wednesday.
Cummings said the female owl will look for its mate since the animals pair for life. If a season passes without finding him, the female could find a new mate.
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