A hardy Great Horned Owl accidentally hitched a ride late last week when it struck a SUV on a Florida turnpike. According to ABC News, driver Sonji Williams was driving to visit her son in southern Florida when the bird hit her car.
“He never moved, and so I said, ‘Oh, my God, I hit a bird.’ And I felt so bad,” Williams told the Associated Press. “But it was very dark, and we didn’t pull over.”
Williams was driving at 60 mph at the time of the impact, and thought the owl had died. She continued on with the trip and wasn’t able to check her car until the next day, over 100 miles away.
What she saw was two yellow eyes blinking at her from behind the SUV’s grill. The owl had somehow managed to become trapped in the area just below the hood, and spent the entire trip as a stowaway. Williams was shocked to tears.
“I’m about to faint,” she told WFTV. “I’ve never experienced anything like this before in my life.”
Miraculously the owl seemed to be just fine. Florida Fish and Wildlife officials treated the bird with some mild antibiotics and reported that the owl was a bit tired. Understandable for anybody who takes a long road trip, especially if spent as a hood ornament.
The owl was taken to a wildlife center in Fort Lauderdale and is expected to be released back into the wild soon.
The video below shows Fish and Wildlife officers rescuing the animal: