A great horned owl that apparently was injured when it was struck by a vehicle near the Long Island Expressway in Medford has been released back into the wild, a spokeswoman for a state agency said Thursday.
The owl was rescued on the westbound side of the LIE, near Exit 65, by Suffolk County Police Officers Fred Sales and Carl Glaser at about 8:30 a.m. and taken for evaluation by state Department of Environmental Conservation personnel, police said.
Aphrodite Montalvo, a spokeswoman for the state agency, said wildlife experts let the owl rest and "determined it was alert enough to be released back into its natural habitat on Wednesday evening."
Montalvo said DEC staff could not determine the severity of the owl's injury but felt it was recovering on its own and did not need the assistance of a rehabilitator.
Montalvo said the DEC is withholding the location where the owl was released to give it the best opportunity to acclimate itself to the surroundings.
DEC staff said a variety of wildlife attempt to scavenge food items tossed onto roadways and can be struck by moving vehicles, which is likely what happened to the owl, according to Montalvo.
Sales and Glaser said Wednesday when they found the owl it showed signs of trauma and that its eyes were dilated.
The officers placed a raincoat over the bird, to settle it down, and were able to grab it by holding it just above the talons until state conservation personnel arrived, according to a police news release.