A great horned owl who was trapped in a plastic bag along a busy freeway flew free Tuesday afternoon with the help of police and wildlife rehabilitators.
Multiple commuters on Interstate 84 in Nampa, Idaho called the Idaho State Police after spotting the distressed owl on the median. While great horned owls are common in the state, it’s rare to see the nocturnal bird during the day, especially near rush hour traffic.
When Idaho State Police officer Sgt. Brandalyn Crapo responded to the call, she found the owl with his talons trapped in plastic.
To protect the stuck owl, Crapo parked her patrol car on the shoulder between the owl and oncoming traffic as she waited for a volunteer with Animals in Distress Association, a wildlife rescue and rehabilitation nonprofit, to arrive.
Within minutes, James McKinley, a wildlife rehabilitator, arrived to save the bird, according to the Idaho Statesman.
McKinley told the newspaper nocturnal raptors often hunt empty roadways at night and likely thought the plastic bag was prey.
“The animal used its foot and clenched it, and that’s how it got hung up,” he said. “I’m speculating he thought the movement of the bag was a prey at night.”
Luckily, McKinley was able to free the owl from the plastic bag as traffic rushed by. The best part: The owl didn’t appear to be injured! The bird was set free away from the busy road—after posing with Crapo for a few photos, of course.
Kudos to Crapo, McKinley and all the concerned drivers who helped save the creature!