Woman trapped in car by owl she tried to rescue

Ted Bumstead often comes across wildlife while he’s on patrol in Yavapai County. But usually, it’s too late to help. This time was different. 

PHOENIX — A would-be Good Samaritan became trapped in her car Monday night after trying to rescue what she thought was an injured owl, Arizona officials said.

The woman was driving just north of Tucson when she spotted an owl, officials said. The owl appeared to be hurt, so the woman placed the dazed bird in her car to seek help.

Soon after, the owl latched onto the driver and the car’s steering wheel, refusing to let go.

“She retrieved it (the owl) from the roadway, and it was essentially motionless, and took it into her car and at that time it revived and latched onto her steering wheel and her sleeve,”  said Mark Hart, a spokesman for the Arizona Game and Fish Department in Tucson. “Her intention there was to render aid.”

The owl, a great horned owl, appeared to have been hit by a car when the woman found it, Hart said.

The woman’s mother contacted the Game and Fish Department after the woman was trapped in the car, Hart said.

The agency suggested that she douse the owl with water. But the owl drank the water and kept its grip on the woman and steering wheel, Hart said.

Don’t risk getting hurt aiding injured wildlife. This owl, dazed when a motorist got it off Oracle Road last night, revived inside her car. It then latched onto her sleeve and steering wheel for some time. Unhurt, she finally coaxed it out. Get help by calling us at 623-236-7201

“She’s fortunate she wasn’t hurt,” Hart said. “We have instances ranging from people trying to aide a coyote hit by a car and down on the street only to be bitten, to people separating young wildlife from their mothers in the mistaken notion that a mother has abandoned the small animal.”

The owl eventually let go on its own and hopped out of the car, appearing to be in good health, Hart said. The woman’s mother saw the owl again Tuesday in the same general area, Hart said.

By: Nathan J. Fish, The Arizona Republic

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