UPDATE: The owl will be released Saturday on Miner Road around 5 p.m.
NARRAGANSETT – An Eastern screech owl will soon be released back into the wild after being hit by a car on Miner Road in Saunderstown.
The owl is being rehabilitated at Born to Be Wild Nature Center in Bradford after he suffered head trauma in the crash.
Vivian Maxson, president of Born to Be Wild Nature Center, said a woman found the owl Jan. 31.
“One pupil is larger than the other, it kind of shows it’s a significant head injury,” Maxson said Tuesday.
She said the owl is doing better, and the head trauma has cleared up and he is eating well. She plans to release the owl where he was found when there is a break in the winter weather.
“Our experience is they have a home territory,” she said. “They mate for life and by returning him where he was found, he will be able to find his way home and possibly be returned to his mate.”
According to Maxson, the Eastern screech owl is a common owl in the area.
“But you rarely get a look at one because they live inside a hole in a tree,” she said. “They have a cavity they hide in and usually they only come out the first couple hours of darkness to hunt.”
Eastern screech owls typically hunt mice, moles, and voles, but are capable of hunting and eating small snakes, frogs, lizards, all sorts of bugs, moths, crickets, bats, and even small birds.
“They’re very hearty little owls,” Maxson said. “People think they look very delicate but they’re really top predators. These guys will pretty much catch kill and eat anything they can swallow.”
Despite their hunting abilities, Maxson described Eastern screech owls as being about as big as a soda can, weighing about a quarter pound.
Maxson said the screech owl is the number one patient at Born to Be Wild Nature Center, the state’s only wildlife rehabilitation center dedicated to birds of prey.
“We get it in from all over the state, from every single community,” she said. “It shows how their numbers are population is very strong.”
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