By Elliot Furniss
Thursday, November 15, 2012
A LUCKY tawny owl discovered stunned in the middle of the road is back in the wild today thanks to the quick-thinking of a passing motorist.
Heather Patrick, a UK Power Networks worker, was returning from a meeting with Suffolk Wildlife Trust when she came across the bird of prey on the B1084, near Bromeswell.
It is thought the bird, which was stunned and sitting in the centre of the busy Woodbridge to Orford road, had been clipped by a passing vehicle, and without Heather’s swift action, may not have lasted the night.
As an environment adviser with the energy company, which has offices at Fore Hamlet in Ipswich, Heather had a hi-visibility jacket and leather gloves in the car, part of her regular safety and protection gear, so was perfectly equipped to handle the situation.
Heather, who lives in Chillesford, said: “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 footwell.
“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.”
Thanks to clear information on the Suffolk Owl Sanctuary website and out-of-hours telephone line, Heather was able to keep her household guest warm and safe overnight until she was able to speak to the sanctuary, and get the owl in for a check-up on the following morning.
She collected the fully-recovered owl from the sanctuary in Stonham Barns on Saturday.
Along with Suffolk Owl Sanctuary manager Andy Hulme, she released her back into the wild near to the spot where she was discovered.
Mr Hulme said: “Heather did exactly the right thing by rescuing the owl and bringing it to us.
“If she had not done that, it could have got run over or been predated on by other animals such as crows or foxes.
“If anyone does find an injured bird they should bring it straight to us but, if it is in the middle of the night, we would say to put it in a cardboard box so it is in a dark environment and keep it somewhere warm like an airing cupboard, so it is not burning up its own energy to keep warm.”