The injured owl is being nursed back to health and is set to be released this spring.
Earlier this month, the luck of an unfortunate female barred owl changed when an officer from the Maryland Natural Resources Police (MNRP) came to her rescue. Cpl. Mike Lathroum said that he was at the right place at the right time on January 10, when he heard a call on the police radio about an injured owl in the slow lane of Route 100.
"If it had wandered out into the travel lane of the highway, [it] probably would've been struck and killed," said Lathroum, a birder who says he has been handling wildlife for 28 years.
When he got to the scene, the owl was lying on the road and was being protected by an Anne Arundel police officer. The bird appears to have been struck by a vehicle, reported WBAL.
"I took my jacket off put it over top of the owl to calm it down and then I was able to secure the owl's feet," Lathroum said. He was then able to transport her to safety. "An owl is going to lock in on a mouse and when it goes into its dive to come down and secure its meal, it's not going to notice motor vehicles traveling at 50, 60 mph and that's how a lot of them get clipped," Lathroum said. He also noted that mice are drawn to the side of the road thanks to people tossing their waste from passing cars.
Now, after a few weeks of recuperation at Frisky's Wildlife and Primate Sanctuary in Howard County, MNRP says the owl is doing well, noting in a Twitter message “Whoooo is feeling better? The barred owl rescued by @MDNRPolice.”
Thankfully, her injuries were not severe and she hadn't broken a wing. For now she is being kept in a caged area to keep her safe from other wildlife, but she should be ready to head back to the wild in early spring. This is her in the image below, on the left.
"We'll put some weight on her, make sure she's flying okay, make sure her senses are good, so she can see fine, she can hear fine. And once we determine that, she's good to go and she can hunt on her own (and we) will go ahead and release her," said Julie Dagnello, of the sanctuary.
Note to wildlife: Stay away from busy roads. Now if only humans could keep their busy roads out of wildlife habitat ... and stop being careless with their trash while they're at it.