A few days ago early in the morning I was on my way to the barn before work. Not far from home on a curvy road an owl was sitting in my lane of the road. I stopped, put on my flashers, and got out to see if it would try to fly from me. No, too stunned. I thought about picking it up in my bare hands and arms but decided work gloves might be better. Since I'm a horse girl, naturally I have work gloves in my car along with many other useful items that leave very little room for passengers, should they decide to brave a ride in a horse girl's car.
I approached the owl from the rear, thinking I would pick it up by holding its wings to the body -- the way one would pick up a chicken. Even in its stunned state, the owl watch my movements and turned its head all the way around, with widened eyes. But it didn't move. Couldn't, obviously. I picked it up and set it on the grassy shoulder where it flopped over unable to right itself. I righted it then moved my car out of the middle of the road and parked at a popular dump site not far way. Then I walked back, took a picture then posted to Facebook, asking for help. In the meantime I drove to the barn intending to work with BeeGee.
By the time I got to the barn, one of my FB friends responded that I should check with Sarvey Wildlife Rescue, which fortunately is located in Arlington and not far from the barn. Their website stated that they weren't open yet but that I should put the animal in a box and bring it during open hours. One thing this horse girl doesn't have in the car is a suitable box. However, BeeGee has an empty grain bin with lots of holes and I had a dry swim towel in the car.
About 30 or so minutes later I was back where I had left the owl and found that it was still there, sitting on the side of the road with half closed eyes. I was thankful that it hadn't wandered out into the road, hadn't been eaten by a coyote, and frankly was still there and responsive when I picked it up in the towel. It didn't make any noise in the grain bin as I drove it back to Arlington and beyond. It didn't move much either but I had it captured in a rather large towel inside a grain bin.
The rescue was open when I got there and a nice young lady came to get the owl, had me fill out paper work about where I found it and its circumstances. Then I got a piece of paper that said how I could check on its status in a few days but warned that not all rescued animals survive. She gave me back my towel and grain bin. If you're a horse girl, you're always relieved to see normal poop and I was glad to see normal bird poop in the grain bin and on my swim towel.
I was late to work that day but an hour of vacation is worth making the difference to a bird. Surely it would've died out there on the side of the road. Naturally I couldn't wait the full 48 hours to contact the rescue. By 24 hours it had survived the night and ate a mouse on its own. By 48 hours it had been evaluated by the vet who stated that its eyes were fine but it had some head trauma in the form of bruising behind the ear.
It's still too soon to be optimistic that it will be well enough to be released into the wild after recovery, if it fully recovers. I've been attached to the owl ever since I made the decision to grab the grain bin and returned to the scene of its accident. I hope to get another update tomorrow.