An apparently injured snowy owl captured in Providence is being cared for at a wildlife clinic in North Kingstown.
The state Department of Environmental Management said someone reported seeing it near Interstate 95. State environmental police officer Mark Saunders captured the owl on Allens Avenue.
"It was able to fly a little bit. But it seems like there was some injury to one of the legs in the talon area," Saunders said. "A lot of birds do hunting along the highway, and I think this one just got hit by a car or a truck."
A University of Rhode Island professor says the high number of snowy owls seen in the state this year is unprecedented.
Ecology professor Peter Paton told The Westerly Sun that there have been reports of snowy owls this year in Middletown, Warwick, Jamestown, Charlestown and Westerly.
Rachel Farrell runs the online Rhode Island birders' network known as Pollypie. She says the current influx of snowy owls is one of the largest in recent years and may end up being of historic proportions.
Bird experts say the owls live in the Arctic, but many fly south when their population spikes or food sources are scarce. They say an unusually large number of snowy owls have been seen this year in the Northeast, Midwest and as far south as North Carolina.
Late last month, a juvenile snowy owl was found with a broken wing at Quonset State Airport in North Kingstown and turned over to wildlife rehabilitators.
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