David Holtman was driving when an owl flew into his windshield. He stopped and saw the creature lying on the ground, wings spread, and unconscious. He placed the owl in his backseat, phoned the emergency line and was told to drive the animal to the police department, where an animal control officer would be waiting for it.
As he pulled onto the road, the owl came to its senses and hopped up on the the back of Holtman's seat. It then went a step further and hopped onto Holtman's shoulder, where it remained for the entire drive to their destination.
In the photo he took (what an awesome selfie, right?), it looks like he rescued a barred owl, which is also known as a hoot owl. In suburban settings, the main danger to these gorgeous birds is vehicles. They prey on ground-dwelling rodents, which means they often fly low to the ground, making them the perfect height for traveling cars and trucks — especially since they primarily hunt at night.
It's so adorable that this owl hopped up and caught a ride on Holtman's shoulder. It almost looks like the owl is comforted by his warmth and companionship. I'm sure the poor little beast was stunned by the accident, and fortunately when it was examined later, experts determined it was going to be OK. I would be wary of grabbing a stunned owl and driving with it myself — they have sharp beaks and talons and could tear up your car… or even your flesh. See how close its beak is to Holtman's eye?
I'm not sure how common the police department's recommendation is either. If I were an animal control officer, I think I'd rather have a policy in place for the police department to tell a concerned citizen to not move a possibly injured animal and to wait for someone to arrive there to help. Injured animals can be unpredictable and violent, and an unskilled person might injure it more accidentally. What if this sweet owl had turned out to be not so sweet and attacked this man while he drove and caused an accident?
The good news is that the owl was calm enough to make the ride without destroying the face of his rescuer. I'm so glad this story has a happy ending and that Holtman got some awesome photos to show for it.
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