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January 20, 2013

Byfield wildlife expert helps save injured owl

METHUEN — Local conservation officials released a barred owl into the city forest last week after it was rehabilitated following an injury.

The owl most likely struck a vehicle and was found on the groundnear Forest Lake.

“It’s hard to tell, but it looks like it probably whacked a car,” Methuen Conservation Officer Joe Giarrusso said. “Fortunately, it wasn’t injured too badly.”

Giarrusso said the owl sustained an injury to its right eye. With the help of licensed wildlife rehabilitator David Taylor, a retired science teacher at Triton Regional Middle School in Byfield, the owl was brought back to health and released Tuesday evening near Forest Lake.

“Within a week, it was pretty much ready to go back into the wild,” Giarrusso said. “It’s a very rewarding situation. We were able to reintroduce an injured animal as a result of working with good people like David.”

Barred owls are common in Massachusetts and native to much of the eastern United States.

Taylor, who lives in Byfield, said eye injuries are common for owls. The owl was kept in an outdoor cage and fed a steady diet of mice before being released, he said.

“These birds depend on their eyesight so much for survival,” Taylor said. “He went up in a tree and looked around and off he went. I suspect he’s going to be OK.”

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