Injured owl rescued by CHP officers from Highway 101 in Santa Rosa

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An owl rescued last week by a pair of on-duty CHP officers on Highway 101 is recovering from injuries suffered after being apparently struck by a vehicle.

CHP Officer Justin Fetterly responded to a call about 12:30 p.m. Friday from dispatchers reporting the injured owl next to the center divider near the Hearn Avenue exit, authorities said.

Fetterly said he put on his leather gloves and with the help of another officer, Brian Wood, cornered the owl.

“It tried to spread its wings and fly, but it could only hop,” he said.

He used an emergency blanket to scoop up the bird and then drove with the animal in his lap to an emergency animal hospital in Santa Rosa.

“He was pretty calm once I held him,” said Fetterly, a five-year CHP veteran.

Volunteer Brad Marsh then brought the owl to the Santa Rosa-based Bird Rescue Center to receive more comprehensive care, said Ashton Kluttz, director of avian care for the nonprofit facility.

An exam found the owl had swelling on its left shoulder, damage to its left eye and suffered coordination problems, Kluttz said. The injuries were most likely sustained from being struck by a vehicle, she said.

“Right now, it is improving daily,” she said.

Once the animal is stable enough, Kluttz said, the owl will be examined by an ophthalmologist. Even with only one functioning eye, the owl can be eventually released back into the wild, she said.

Kluttz said that rescue animals are not given names by staff as most will be eventually rehabilitated and released. Instead, they receive intake numbers.

“It happens to be in this case the owl got 911,” she said.

You can reach Staff Writer Bill Swindell at 521-5223 or bill.swindell@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @BillSwindell.

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