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Snowy owl gets a second chance to soar

MINNEAPOLIS -- A snowy owl that was injured in Washington, D.C., is recovering after a unique procedure to give it new wings, according to CBS Minneapolis, WCCO.

The young owl was brought to The University of Minnesota's The Raptor Center with burned wings, perhaps after keeping warm on a chimney, reports WCCO's Bill Hudson.

"What appears to be a spontaneous eruption of heat and they jump up and open their wings to fly and the heat is so intense it just singes all those feathers," said Lori Arent of The Raptor Center.

Those big feathers become useless for flying.

The Raptor Center heard that the bird was also hit by a bus.

"Whether or not that's true, we don't know," Arent said. "He definitely had some type of frontal impact."

Fortunately, The Raptor Center saves flight feathers from birds that do not survive - to use to get birds like the D.C. owl back into the air.

"So, I knew that I would need flight feathers and tail feathers from a second year male snowy owl," Arent said.

She whittled pieces of bamboo to fit into the shafts of the replacement feathers and glued them to the shafts of the damaged feathers that remained on the bird.

The snowy owl should molt in the months ahead and grow new flight feathers. Its transplanted feathers should allow it to be released as soon as it is strong enough to fly.

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