POE inspectors assist injured Great Horned Owl

When CJ Williams and Dan Kelley returned to a Roving Port of Entry site on Idaho 78 near Bruneau to inspect commercial vehicles in late February, they noticed something different. A Great Horned Owl that they had come to know and had established a year-round residence in a group of trees nearby was noticeably absent.

The Great Horned Owl is one of North America's largest true owls and the presence of one at the RPOE was always a matter of amusement between inspections.

"Its marked absence was odd enough to raise our curiosity," Williams said. But at approximately noon the familiar raptor finally appeared with its right wing badly broken and clutched to its side at an unnatural angle.

"Judging from the severity of the wound. It wasn't hard to see that the bird might not make it through the night," he explained. "I contacted Idaho Fish and Game who placed me in contact with a Boise raptor rehabilitation specialist.

"After speaking with the raptor specialist, the decision was made to attempt to capture and transport the owl to Boise in an effort to save the bird."

Williams is a veteran and former U.S. Army flight medic who is no stranger to helping the injured.

When time came for the inspectors to return to the East Boise Port of Entry, Williams removed a wool blanket from his truck and Kelley found a roll of duct tape. Using the blanket to distract and subsequently bundle up the owl, the two transported the bird back to the POE.

After arriving at East Boise POE, Williams transferred the owl to his personal vehicle and proceeded to the raptor rehabilitation center. He explained where and how he came across the owl and added that he found the center's staff professional and knowledgeable.

Unfortunately, the best efforts of caring ITD employees and the center's rehabilitation specialists to try and save a little feathered friend fell short. The damage to the wing was too extensive and the owl had to be humanely euthanized.

(Pictured above)
POE Inspector CJ Williams holds the injured owl that he and Dan Kelley carefully transported from Bruneau to Boise.

Published 3-07-14