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Great horned owl makes 150-mile trip stuck in SUV's grille

A state wildlife officer took this picture of a great horned owl stuck in the grille of a SUV driven by Sonji Coney-Williams of Lakeland.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

A state wildlife officer took this picture of a great horned owl stuck in the grille of a SUV driven by Sonji Coney-Williams of Lakeland.

Have you driven a Ford lately?

A great horned owl has — from Yeehaw Junction to Plantation, stuck in the grille of a sport utility vehicle for 150 miles. It was discovered alive the next day, its piercing yellow eyes peering from its precarious perch.

"I am still in shock over all that's happened," the driver of the SUV, Sonji Coney-Williams of Lakeland, told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. "I feel so bad. I am glad he's doing well. He was very lucky."

She was driving Feb. 7 south on the Florida Turnpike to visit her son in South Florida. At Yeehaw Junction east of Lake Wales, she saw a large bird in the road, but it would not budge. She thought it was a buzzard, then realized it was an owl.

She kept driving through the darkness, not realizing it and her SUV had collided.

The next morning, she was leaving a hotel in Plantation when a couple pointed out the odd sight in her SUV's grille.

Coney-Williams called the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission for help.

The agency said a wildlife officer removed the grille — with her permission — and rescued the owl. He took it to South Florida Wildlife Center in Fort Lauderdale, where it was being monitored this week.

The wildlife commission said the owl is likely to be driven back to the Yeehaw Junction area and released.

"It's going in a nice, padded carrier this time," center director Sherry Schlueter told the Sun-Sentinel.

Great horned owl makes 150-mile trip stuck in SUV's grille 02/14/13 [Last modified: Thursday, February 14, 2013 11:39am]
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