Quick Thinking Saves The Day

A mature tawny owl is back in the wild this week thanks to quick-thinking of an alert driver.

Heather Patrick was returning from a meeting with local branch of the Suffolk Wildlife Trust when she came across the stunned bird sitting in the centre of a busy carriageway, very probably having been clipped by a passing vehicle.

Thankfully, Heather managed to avoid further harm being done. Perfectly equipped to handle the situation, as an environment adviser with UK Power Networks and had a hi-vis jacket and leather gloves in her car, part of her regular safety and protection gear.


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Heather's quick thinking saved the day

“I managed to flag down a motorist to help avert the traffic while I got the owl into a jute carrier bag that I had with me, which turned out to be the perfect shape for containing her, and popped her in the passenger foot well. I knew I needed to do this as cleanly and quickly as possible to avoid panicking her but when it came to it she was incredibly docile and put up very little resistance.”

Heather was able to keep her household guest warm and safe overnight until she was able to speak to bring the owl in to us for a check-up the following morning.

A few days later, after the Tawny had received some TLC and enjoyed a little quiet recuperation time, her bruised wings had fully recovered she was passed 'fit for flight'. Heather then collected her from the Sanctuary took her for release her back into the wild near to the spot where she was discovered.

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Ready for the 'off' - Heather, Andy and the recuperated Tawny Owl
before she was taken off for release

Our falconer and fund-raiser Maz commented: “These rather majestic tawny owls often arrive with us after a road traffic accident. This one was particularly lucky, having been rescued from the centre of a busy road in the dark. The next vehicle may not have been able to avoid her. Thanks to Heather’s prompt and efficient actions, the owl was able to recuperate with us and rebuild the muscle strength in her wings in readiness for her release.”
Maz hopes Heather’s actions will encourage others to have the confidence to act if they come across an injured bird of prey. “It’s surprising just how many people think that an injured bird will recover of its own accord or that it will attack them if they try and pick it up. In reality, catching an injured bird isn’t usually a problem since the bird is likely to be incapable of moving and too weak or shocked to put up any sort of resistance to handling.”

You'll find more about what to do in this sort of situation on our "Help For Injured Owls" pages. And thanks, Heather - job well done!
Click here for more information on The Suffolk Wildlife Trust