An Idaho State Trooper got help from a wildlife expert to rescue an owl stuck on Interstate 84 in Nampa.
According to police officials, a motorist notified police about a great-horned owl stuck on the freeway with its talons caught in plastic.
Idaho State Police Sgt. Brandalyn Crapo responded to the call, combing the highway looking for the unlucky bird.
Upon locating the bird, Crapo stopped her cruiser on the shoulder of the freeway to make sure the owl didn’t move into the way of traffic.
Crapo then called wildlife expert James McKinley, a retired 50-year wildlife researcher and current wildlife rehabilitator, for assistance.
McKinly, who works for the Animals in Distress Association and the Ruth Melichar Bird Center, is the go-to man to deal with birds of prey.
When McKinley arrived on the scene, he saw the owl’s wings were free.
“It is so dicey when you go to grab the bird,” McKinley said. “Sometimes it doesn’t want to get grabbed, and that can get ugly, which was my main concern.”
McKinley, whose expertise is focused on raptors, holds government permits that allow him to house and rehabilitate protected birds – which he does on a volunteer capacity.
According to The Idaho Statesman, McKinley spends his time responding to calls or caring for birds at his house. He has had 600 cases this year – many with birds that don’t make it.
McKinley suspected that the bird mistook the plastic for prey while hunting along the highway at night.
“The animal used its foot and clenched it, and that’s how it got hung up. I’m speculating he thought the movement of the bag was a prey at night. It might have been attracted to the movement,” he said.
They were then able to dislodge the plastic bag and set the owl free away from the interstate – but not before snapping a few photos with the bird.
“Thanks to motorists on I-84 in Nampa today who spotted a Great Horned Owl tangled in plastic. Sgt. Crapo found the owl, parked her car between the bird & traffic until a volunteer from Animals in Distress could arrive. The owl is okay & released away from the freeway,” the Idaho State Police tweeted.