Snowy owl rescued in Washington, D.C., has feather repairs at Minnesota raptor center

March 29

Washington’s celebrated but injured snowy owl has been sent to a Minnesota raptor rehabilitation center for the painstaking repair of its damaged feathers.

The raptor, which entranced the city by its presence this winter, was injured when it was hit by a bus. But in what appeared to be a separate incident, authorities said, its feathers were also singed.

After rehabilitation on the East Coast, the owl recently was sent for feather work at the University of Minnesota’s Raptor Center.

In that work, feathers already on hand are joined to the healthy parts of an injured bird’s own feathers. Owl feathers have hollow shafts, and wood slivers are fitted into each to link the two, along with a bit of epoxy for binding, said clinic manager Lori Arent.

She said that the restored feathers looked “just terrific” Friday and that a tethered test flight is planned soon, to be followed by an eventual return of the owl to the wild.

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