Highway mishap: ‘Owl’s well that ends well’

Bird taken to Price to rehab broken wing

Nate Whitney, an investigator with the Grand County Sheriff’s Office, uses a blanket to cover this owl that he found injured on Highway 191. Photo by the Grand County Sheriff’s Office

The Grand County Sheriff’s Office reported Tuesday, Jan. 7 that an investigator with the office, Nate Whitney, came across “what appeared to be a very large, deceased bird in the roadway” around 7 a.m. Tuesday on Highway 191.

When he stopped his car to clear the road and began approaching the bird, which turned out to be an owl, he realized that it was alive after it extended a leg and its claws in a defensive manner. “Whitney returned to his vehicle and contacted dispatch for assistance from Department of Natural Resources,” the post read.

After calling for assistance, Sheriff’s Deputy Josh Stalpes responded in his patrol truck to take the owl to the sheriff’s office. Whitney used a blanket to cover the owl, then he “picked it up and swaddled it much like a baby,” according to the sheriff’s office post.

“The owl was calm as it was placed in Stalpes’ truck and safely transferred to the sheriff’s office where it was picked up for rehabilitation at Second Chance Wildlife Rehabilitate in Price who determined it was a very large great horned owl,” an online post read.

The photo caption in this story has been corrected. It previously misidentified Whitney as Stalpes.