Drivers urged to watch for birds of prey along highways

VTF&W photo by Kelly Price
Vermont State Game Warden Kelly Price helped this barred owl get medical attention after it may have been hit along a highway in southern Vermont.

The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department is urging drivers to be alert for birds of prey that are seeking food along the highway this time of year due to snow-covered ground.

Many species of hawks and owls are hit by motor vehicles on highways when they swoop down to catch small rodents crossing the open road.

The birds usually do not survive these collisions.

Sometimes Vermont Fish & Wildlife staff are fortunate to save one of these majestic creatures. State Game Warden Kelly Price captured a barred owl recently in Brookline that had a broken wing most likely caused by a vehicle collision and took it to the VT-NH Veterinary Clinic in Dummerston.

“There are not enough accolades to express my gratitude for Dr. Ron Svec and his amazing staff for what they do for these animals,” said Price. “For over 17 years they have provided free medical care and rehabilitation for birds of prey. This clinic is the only one in the area federally licensed to care for and handle birds of prey. I could not successfully do my part in protecting these beautiful birds without the help of Dr. Svec.”

Many of these raptors are successfully returned to the wild after rehabilitation but a few are never able to survive in the wild again. These disabled birds are usually taken to educational facilities for life-long care and public observation.

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