PHOTO: Colorado Wildlife Officials Rescue Owl Trapped in Grille of Truck

by Amy Myers
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Photo By Karl Gehring/The Denver Post via Getty Images

Lately, it seems there have been a lot of owl rescues, and most of the time, these birds of prey become victims of the confines of soccer nets, coops and now a truck’s grille. In this instance, Colorado wildlife experts came to the rescue of a great horned owl that managed to wedge itself in the front of a resident’s vehicle. As the creature waited for help, a tribe of magpies began to collect, waiting for the would-be predator to meet its demise.

Thankfully, a passerby noticed the poor bird in its helpless state and notified authorities. Responding to the call about the poor owl was Colorado Parks and Wildlife Officer Travis Sauder who knew that the rescue would require some delicate work. When he arrived, he saw that the bird could stick its head out of the bottom of the grille, but beyond that, the creature couldn’t move.

CPW snapped a few photos and documented Sauder’s work on film. While eying the encroaching scavengers, the wildlife officer said, “Come on guys, the poor thing is having a rough day.”

According to CPW, “he suspects it was diving on prey when it was sucked under the grill of a passing truck Monday night.” Likely, the truck driver didn’t even know that they were carrying an extra passenger. If it hadn’t been for the unnamed witness who called in the sighting, the owl would probably have died from starvation, dehydration or further injury.

Great Horned Owl Sustains Damage to Left Wing

After gently removing the great horned owl from beside the truck’s radiator, Sauder inspected the injuries that the creature sustained. There’s definitely a chunk of his left wing missing, but the officer explained that the damaged wing didn’t feel broken.

“Just needs some time to heal up and grow some new feathers,” Sauder said.

This was good news for the new CPW patient as it would mean less time spent in recuperation and a quicker release back into the wild.

In the meantime, though, the owl seemed to accept the help from the officer, clinging to his glove and sleepily blinking its large eyes.

Following the rescue, the owl is under the care of experts at the nonprofit Nature and Wildlife Discovery Center in Pueblo.

The recovering great horned owl is the fourth to make headlines after Tennessee first responders came to the rescue of one caught in a chicken coop and two others fell victim to the tangles of a soccer net in Michigan and Wisconsin. The cause of the suspected uptick in owl accidents is unclear since nesting and breeding season for great horned owls occurs in late January through early February. Though mostly nocturnal, great horned owls can be active in the early morning or late afternoon if food supplies are low.

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