The snowy owl reportedly hit by a bus in Washington, D.C., in late January 2014 was released near Superior, Wisconsin on Saturday, April 19, 2014 by The Raptor Center at the University of Minnesota.
The owl had been receiving care at The Raptor Center to replace damaged wing feathers and to complete its rehabilitation after initial treatment at the National Zoo and City Wildlife in Washington, D.C.
Here’s a little more information from The Raptor Center at the University of Minnesota about why it chose to release the owl where it did:
“We chose this spot for the release based on the recommendation of a biologist who has monitored owls for several years in the area and knows this to be a favorable habitat for snowy owls. We consider several factors when determining the location where we release a bird: habitat, season (expected migratory movement) and presence of other raptors, among many other considerations.
We also had done previous test flight runs with this particular owl and we knew he was strong enough for release and his new feathers were serving him well. When we release a bird, we always gently toss them into the wind in order to help the bird get lift. Typically a bird will turn and fly with the wind after a few wingbeats–that was the expected pattern with this bird. It certainly is an indication of this bird’s excellent condition that he flew straight into the wind for so long.”
Learn more about what it takes to rehabilitate a bird at http://z.umn.edu/lhi.