Thursday, April 4, 2002

Injured owl released in Cape

Published in the Current

A barred owl, blinded in one eye after being hit by a car Feb. 17, was released into the wild in Cape Elizabeth March. 28 by a volunteer from the Center for Wildlife in Cape Neddick.

Also present at the release were Kathy Hewins and Laurie Littlejohn, who were the driver and passenger, respectively, in the car that hit the owl. The bird was released near where the accident occurred, as Hewins, Littlejohn and others cheered.

When the owl was hit, Hewins stopped the car and Littlejohn was able to pick up the owl and cradle it in her arms while Hewins drove home, where they called the Center for Wildlife.

That evening, the two drove the bird to the Scarborough home of center volunteer, Nancy Robinson. The following morning, Robinson took the owl to the center, where it stayed until the day of its release.

The bird was blinded in its left eye in the accident, but its other eye, also injured, healed fully, Robinson said.

When released, the bird flew out of Robinson’s arms and up into a nearby tree, where it stayed for a few minutes before flying a bit farther into a stand of trees. Over the next several minutes, the owl flew deeper into the trees and out of view of the road.

Owls hit by cars are not uncommon in Cape, Robinson said, and their territorial nature means they have a good chance of survival, if they are released in their home area, she said.