Screech owl survives dashboard ride-along


A Western screech owl was successfully rescued Thursday from behind the dashboard of an SUV parked in San Carlos, officials with the Peninsula Humane Society & Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals said today.

The driver of an SUV left Redwood City on her way to work in San Carlos with one of the SUV’s back windows down. As she was driving, she heard a thud that sounded as if something fell, humane society spokeswoman Buffy Tarbox said.

The driver checked to see whether anything fell and didn’t see anything so she kept driving. When she got to work, however, she noticed an owl in her back seat.

Tarbox said the owl got a little bit spooked and jumped into the SUV’s front seat, onto the floorboard and then behind the gas and brake pedals.

The driver told humane society officials that eventually it wedged itself behind the dashboard.

Tarbox said at this point the driver decided to call the humane society and the fire department.

When members from the humane society got to the SUV, they could only hear the owl. But they had a portable camera, which allowed them to spot it behind the dashboard.

Firefighters then dismantled the vehicle’s dashboard and removed the glove compartment, which then allowed them to safely remove the owl with some heavy gloves. Tarbox said the owl was a little perturbed:

“They’re kind of surly anyway. … They’re birds of prey. They’re nocturnal.”

Humane society officers took the owl to their wildlife care center in Burlingame to be evaluated.

Tarbox said the owl had no broken feathers and appears to be okay.

Humane society staff members are still evaluating and monitoring the bird and it will be returned to the wild once it’s medically cleared.

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