An injured Saw-whet owl found in Frankfort several months ago is well on its way to recovery, experts say.
The owl, found by the Macisco family in late October, underwent orthopedic surgery at Cornell University’s Janet L. Swanson Wildlife Health Center to repair an injured wing.
He is now in the care of wildlife rehabilitator Jean Soprano at Kindred Kingdoms Wildlife Rehabilitation Center in Pennellville.
The bird to be released in the spring, after other Saw-whet owls are seen in the area again. According to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Saw-whet owls live in New York state year-round. But they're rarely seen in this area.
He missed the winter migration, so for now he’s hunkered down for the winter at the center.
The delay also gives time to test the owl’s recovery. While in captivity, all of its food has been provided by the rehabilitation team; before it can be released, it has to pass flight and live prey tests to demonstrate that it can effectively hunt and feed itself in the wild.
The process for rehabilitating a bird of prey is very specific: First the bird is placed in a large training cage called a “mew” that gives it room to fly while still protecting it from the weather and strong winds.
This “allows the bird to regain flight strength slowly on his/her own time in a safe environment.
Once the bird is strong enough, live prey is released into the cage “to stimulate hunting instincts and help the bird sharpen its skill before release.
Their plan is to release it during the spring in Whiskey Hollow in Baldwinsville or in a cemetery in Phoenix.