D.C.’s snowy owl tests her replacement wings

WASHINGTON — UPDATE Wednesday, April 2, 2014: After receiving her replacement wings late last month, D.C.’s snowy owl is taking them for a spin.

The owl is currently at The Raptor Center in Minnesota. Wednesday morning, “D.C. Snowy” took a few reconditioning flights to check her strength, endurance and mechanics.

EARLIER March 26, 2014: WASHINGTON — The snowy owl hit by a vehicle in D.C. in January is receiving some special care at the University of Minnesota’s Raptor Center.

The center is internationally renowned for replacing damaged feathers. On Tuesday the owl, a female, was in the clinic having some of her wing feathers replaced through a process called imping, The Raptor Center announced in a news release.

Shafts of feathers are hollow, so new feathers can be inserted and glued. Trained professionals do this using bamboo to connect new feathers.

The process will allow the owl to fly again — necessary for survival in the wild.

The Raptor Center clinic manager Lori Arent is a specialist in imping and performed the procedure.

“We’re uncertain as to what caused the singed-like appearance to the owl’s feathers, but it does resemble patients we have treated who burned their flight feathers after flying over an intense heat source, such as a methane burner,” said Arent.

The owl’s prognosis is good.

Watch the snowy owl get her replacement wings (no sound:

Listen to The Raptor Center staff talk about the snowy owl’s care

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WTOP’s Kate Ryan contributed to this report.

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