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.