Yesterday, AJ and I were "truckin" south on Hwy 218 from Mt Pleasant, IA. There, in the middle of the "hammer" (fast) lane, was sitting a North American Barred Owl, obviously disoriented and not feeling too proud of himself. I was afraid he would be run over, so I flipped a U-turn and went back around to see if the bird was okay or at least to get it out of the road.
On second look, he was obviously injured, so I pulled over and got AJ's crate out. As I was directing traffic into the "granny" (slow) lane, I set up the crate, gently picked the bird up (wearing gloves, of course…raptors can get cranky) and put him into the crate. A very nice man driving an SUV blocked the lane with his car so I could safely do this.
After I got the bird into the truck and covered the crate with blankets to darken it, I called the local sheriff's office and reported I had an injured owl. Apparently he had been hit by a car: his left leg and foot were fairly well damaged and he was very disoriented. He didn't even try to peck me. His wings seemed to be in good condition and overall, he seemed in salvageable condition. He may have been disoriented simply because of the time of day. Barred Owls are most active during the darkest part of the night (midnight to 4 am) so the light probably hurt his eyes and he was tired.
AJ, of course, wanted to know who was borrowing his crate. He had a very brief sniff, realized this critter wasn't going to play, got bored quickly and went to lay down. The sheriff showed up with a cat carrier and took the bird to a vet who, he said, "deals with this sort of thing." I named the owl "Kentucky" because I found him on Hwy 218 near the crossroad Kentucky Ave. just south of Mt Pleasant, IA. (I say "him" throughout this because I looked the bird up and he seemed too small to be a female. But I'm no expert.) AJ was awesome throughout. He never bothered the owl or the deputy who showed up.
I wish there was a way to get some follow-up on the story of this bird, but I don't know where the deputy took him. I will hope he gets well and is released successfully. If he can't be released, I hope he goes to a very good zoo or aviary. Here's a pic of "Kentucky." It's not very good, but it was taken with my cel phone.