Post-Rehab, Injured Snowy Owl Ready to be Released

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A snowy owl sits on the awning of an office building in downtown Washington, D.C. on Jan. 22, 2014. Snowy Owls, reportedly found in the northern circumpolar region, are a rare sighting in the D.C. area. (Photo credit: EVA HAMBACH/AFP/Getty Images)

A snowy owl sits on the awning of an office building in downtown Washington, D.C. on Jan. 22, 2014. Snowy Owls, reportedly found in the northern circumpolar region, are a rare sighting in the D.C. area. (Photo credit: EVA HAMBACH/AFP/Getty Images)

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ST. PAUL, Minn. — A rare snowy owl that gained national attention when it was apparently hit by a bus in the nation’s capital is scheduled to be released into the wild after a rehab stint in Minnesota.

The Raptor Center at the University of Minnesota plans to release the owl on Saturday along the northern Minnesota and Wisconsin border.

“Once the snowy owl is released, what it will do is speculation,” The Raptor Center clinic manager Lori Arent said in a statement. “It may stay in the area for a few days, but its migratory urge will eventually encourage it to move north. The upper Midwest makes a lot of sense as a starting point for that journey.”

The injured owl was found in downtown Washington in late January and taken to the National Zoo before being transferred to a Washington, D.C., wildlife rehabilitation center. It was then sent to The Raptor Center, which has expertise in replacing damaged feathers. It has since completed about a three-week exercise program and regained fitness after its feathers were repaired.

Snowy owls are native to the Arctic but were seen all along the East Coast this winter, as far south as Florida.

The owl will be released alongside another snowy owl patient from Superior, Wis.

RELATED:

Record Number of Snowy Owls Migrating to the Region a Treat For Scientists, Bird Watchers

Snowy Owl Hit By Bus in D.C., Taken to National Zoo

2 Snowy Owls Relocated From Maryland Airport

(© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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