GRAFTON (CBS) – They’re majestic night birds that are having a tough year, owls coming out on the wrong side of close encounters with cars.
A lot of them are being nursed back to health at the Tufts Wildlife Clinic in Grafton and that means they can go home again.
Dr. Maureen Murray, the assistant director of the Tufts Wildlife Center at Cummings Veterinary Medical Center, has had her hands full. Since the beginning of August, 85 injured barred owls have been brought to the clinic.
“It’s been an abnormally busy year for barred owls for us. The injuries are consistent with them having been hit by a car or bumping into a car,” she says. Dr. Murray showed us an x-ray of one of those birds with an injured wing. Then she showed us the same owl today, taking flight.
What’s causing the injuries? The answer to that question starts with the fact that owls hunt at night. “So they’ll swoop down across the road as they’re focused on catching that prey and they don’t look both ways before they swoop down,” she says.
And the owls can’t win against a car. “The one thing people can do to try and prevent this type of collision is really be on the lookout, be aware,” she says.
As the owls heal they’re placed in the “flight barn,” and will soon be released into the wild. “Ideally that’s always our goal, to restore them to full health, full function and get them back out there,” explains Dr. Murray.
What should you do if you spot an injured owl? Call the local police to connect to the animal control officer.