The yearling female snowy owl rescued with signs of emaciation and having difficulty flying after a seagull meal near 11th and John is making a fast recovery and should be ready for release sometime in the next two weeks.
Here is an update from the Sarvey Wildlife Center via the Union Bay Watch blog:
Suzanne says the CH Snowy was picked up because its tail was not functioning properly and the bird was very, very thin. She has been hydrated, fed and X-rayed, the Snowy not Suzanne. The X-rays show no spinal damage and for the first time since her rescue she has fanned her tail feathers. This is a positive sign that the tail is going to be OK. The Snowy’s weight has remained stable since the rescue so she is eating.
Suzanne says there is a requirement that, whenever feasible, rescued creatures are released within 10 miles of where they were found. The time and location of the Snowy’s release is not yet known, however I hope to be able to provide photo and video coverage of the event.
CHS Aviary writer Melissa Koosmann also shared some of her thoughts on the owl’s presence on Capitol Hill.
Snowy owls are more or less nomadic at this time of year. They probably base their movements on food availability, but biologists don’t fully understand how they make decisions about where to go, or when. They usually hang out in semi-wooded areas in Canada and the northern US, but they occasionally range as far south as Texas. I can tell you that this owl is likely a young one. Older owls stay in the arctic year-round, but the younger owls aren’t skilled enough hunters to live through the arctic winter.
Thanks to commenter ebbtide for sharing pictures of what was likely the same owl being harassed by crows earlier near Malden and E Republican.