You can now read 5 articles in a month for free on Read as much as you want anywhere and anytime for just 99¢.

After injury and rehabilitation, snowy owls fly free

Maureen Murray released a snowy owl on Plum Island

Colin Nickerson for the Boston Globe

Maureen Murray released a rehabilitated snowy owl on Plum Island.

PLUM ISLAND — The snowy owl bearing the clinical name W140218 was released Monday morning at the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge, along with another snowy that had undergone life-saving treatment by veterinarians at the Tufts Wildlife Clinic.

Overseeing the release was the Massachusetts Audubon Society’s Norman Smith, who had rescued both birds from Logan International Airport after they apparently had been knocked from the sky by the downdraft of departing passenger jets. Also participating were Tufts veterinarians Maureen Murray, who surgically restored the flying power of W140218’s fractured wing, and Cristin Kelley, along with veterinary technician Jessica Zorge. All had worked with the majestic sojourners from the Canadian Arctic.

Continue reading below

“He’s flying strong; he’s flying beautifully,’’ Murray said as the first of the owls lifted from her hands with a powerful beat of wings. The clinical code simply indicates that the owl was the 218th injured creature admitted to the clinic in 2014.

“Go snowy, go!’’ urged Zorge, as she loosed the second bird.

The birds swooped across the marsh grasses in a generally northern direction. The likelihood is that both owls will hang around the federal wildlife sanctuary for a few days — honing their hunting skills after nearly two months of medical confinement — before striking out on their much-delayed migration to the far north.

Continue reading it below

“It’s good to see a wild thing restored to the wild,’’ said Smith, an owl expert and director of Mass Audubon’s Blue Hills Trailside Museum.

Smith has captured 120 snowy owls from near the runways of Logan, where the birds showed up in record numbers this winter.

Colin Nickerson can be reached at nickerson.colin
Loading comments...
Want each day's news headlines delivered fresh to your
inbox every morning? Just connect with us
in one of the following ways:
Please enter a valid email will never post anything without asking.
Privacy Policy
Subscriber Log In

You have reached the limit of 5 free articles in a month

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than 25¢ a week
Marketing image of
Marketing image of