You may remember the D.C. snowy owl patient treated by The Raptor Center at the University of Minnesota in March and April 2014. The owl had reportedly been hit by a bus in Washington, D.C., in late January 2014.
The owl had been receiving care at The Raptor Center to replace damaged wing feathers and was returned to the wild on April 19 after meeting health benchmarks indicative of fitness for the wild.
Sadly, we're writing today to let you know that The Raptor Center has learned the snowy owl's body has been recovered from the shoulder of a Minnesota highway, near where he had been released last spring. The snowy's cause of death is uncertain, but the placement of the body indicates he may have been hit by a vehicle. The body was in good condition, indicating the owl was successfully hunting, and was identifiable by a bird band placed on the leg prior to release.
As with all of our rehabilitated raptor patients at The Raptor Center we work diligently to treat and prepare the birds in our care for release. It is always difficult when we receive news such as this.
Urban landscape challenges such as buses, methane burners and roadways can prove hazardous to all types of wildlife, owls included.
We appreciate your interest in the snowy owl through his rehabilitation and release, and as always, thank you for your support.