Story of Survival
An incredible story of survival
It's an incredible story of survival for an extremely lucky bird of prey hit by a pickup truck on Highway 401 last week.
A Great Horned Owl, which survived more than eight hours of being trapped in a truck grill at high speeds on the highway, is now recuperating comfortably at Yates Animal Hospital.
"He is doing just fine," said Mic Leuszler, a sales representative at Andersons GM who has taken an interest in the bird and visited him in hospital twice.
The owl's story began last Friday when Leuszler said a customer of Andersons GM hit the bird with his pickup truck on Highway 401, near Putnam Road, on his way to work at around 6 a.m. in the morning.
"He thought he had hit a hawk," Leuszler explained.
The large bird had broken and knocked out a large chunk of the grill and was stuck inside.
Since it wasn't moving, the pickup truck driver assumed the bird was dead and continued on his way to work for the day.
After work, the customer brought his truck into Anderson's to get his grill replaced.
That's when Lee Anderson, sitting in an office inside the car dealership, saw the bird in the grill.
"He noticed the bird moved," Leuszler said.
Leuszler also examined the bird and realized it was not a hawk but a horned owl, possibly a Great Horned Owl.
"It's huge," he said. "It had a wingspan of four to five feet (1.2 metres to 1.5 metres)."
Leuszler, a bird admirer, asked the customer to follow him in his truck to see Dr. Gord Yates, of Yates Veterinary Clinic.
"Gord Yates managed to maneuver the owl out of the front end of the truck through the same hole it had made on the way in," Leuszler said in an e-mail. "The poor owl looked a little shook up but seemed in fine condition considering it had travelled over 200 km in 120 km winds."
Leuszler said the horned owl suffered no broken bones and is eating well.
The bird will be released in the Putnam area when he has fully recovered.
The Great Horned Own is one of Canada's most common large birds of prey, according to the website Hinterland Who's Who.
It takes its name from prominent ear tuffs or "horns."
Generally Great Horned Owls do not migrate far from the area in which it was born.
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