Tucson woman recounts attempted owl rescue

Tucson woman recounts attempted owl rescue
(Source: Arizona Game and Fish Dept.)
(Source: Arizona Game and Fish Dept.)

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Ryly Sawyer was headed home after work Monday night, not expecting a close encounter with the nocturnal kind.

Driving down Oracle Road, Mother Nature had different plans for her.

The 18-year-old hit an owl.

"I thought it was dead, you know. It was just laying there," Sawyer said. "I thought I had actually killed this owl. I freaked out and picked it up. I didn't know what to do."

The event left her shocked.

"I was blown away," she said. "I was like what is happening right now? What do I do?"

She said she ran out to the street and picked up the owl, taking it to her car. She was even more stunned the moment the owl seemed to come back to life.

Photos she took show a detailed look at the owl clawing into both her leg and her steering wheel.

As she sat on the side of the road, surprisingly, Sawyer said she stayed calm.

"He did put some of his talons right here (on her leg) and then I put my arm down because he was having troubles holding himself up," she said. "He grabbed onto my shirt."

Sawyer called Arizona Game and Fish to figure out how to get the owl out, trying different things like spraying water on its beak.

Ultimately, she was able to get its claws out of her wheel and put it back on the street.

On her steering wheel, the owl left a small mark, a reminder to Sawyer.

"There's no guarantees with wildlife, so you don't want to put yourself at risk or hurting the animal at risk," she said.

Sawyer said it's a life lesson she can walk away with, and one we all can learn from.

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