BETHEL — A Maine barred owl is in rehabilitation after it was caught inside a Bethel barn where it had been decapitating a chicken a day and flying off with the head.

Wildlife Biologist Judy Camuso says owls are having a tough time finding food this winter and the owl was doing everything it could to survive. She says it was near death.

She says many animals that owls live on, such as squirrels and voles, live under the snow.

Camuso says chickens are too big for owls to carry off and owls are notorious for eating heads.

The owl was captured on Sunday. It was taken Monday to Avian Haven, a wildlife rehabilitation center in Freedom.

“This individual is in fairly good shape compared to others we have admitted in the last couple months,” said Avian Haven’s Diane Winn in an e-mail. “Most of our winter admissions, like this one, have been juveniles that seem to be having a hard time making it through their first winter.”

In addition to being undernourished, Winn said, the Bethel owl has an eye injury.

She said the center will keep the owl “at least until the eye injury has healed, and possibly a bit longer, until weather conditions are more favorable for making a living. She might be here for as long as a few more weeks.”