Metro

Owl stuck in truck survives trip through New England, released to wild

Jane Kelly helped care for the owl over the last six months and said the bird, named Trucker, was released Saturday in Wilmington.
Michael Casey/Associated Press/File 2017
Jane Kelly helped care for the owl over the last six months and said the bird, named Trucker, was released Saturday in Wilmington.

WILMINGTON — An owl that was hit by a truck last spring and traveled from Massachusetts to New Hampshire wedged between the truck cab and trailer is ready to hunt crawfish and moles again.

The bird’s wings and tail feathers were shattered, and it showed signs of head trauma after the bird was discovered by the truck driver and turned over to an owl rehabilitator in New Hampshire.

Jane Kelly helped care for the owl over the last six months and said the bird, named Trucker, was released Saturday in Wilmington, where the mishap originally occurred.

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Kelly said the owl was ready to take flight and head home.

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New Hampshire Fish and Game conservation officer Chris McKee said it’s a miracle the owl survived the ordeal.

He said the owl was most likely trying to hunt for rodents along the highway when it collided with the truck.

Truckers Will Sword and Tyler Buckley, based in Londonderry, N.H., were on the road in Massachusetts when they heard a bang. At first, they thought the truck had hit a tree.

But when they stopped and Buckley got out to investigate, he was shocked to see an owl trapped between the cab and the cargo hold. He recalled it was flapping its wings and trying to escape.

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New Hampshire State Police referred them to Kelly, who advised the truckers to gently remove the bird from the truck with heavy gloves to avoid the sharp talons, keep it warm with a blanket, and place it in a box.

‘‘It’s been a long haul,’’ said Kelly, who runs a rehabilitation and education center for birds of prey.

She said besides signs of head trauma, the owl seemed to be an older bird that may be getting cataracts.