Canby Fire Intern Rescues Owl Near Station on Highway 170

The mission of the Canby Fire District is to save and protect lives wherever possible — and in the rich environs of the Willamette Valley, that may sometimes extend to non-human life.

Such was the case Tuesday morning, when Canby Fire intern Leighton Imes, a volunteer firefighter and animal lover, was out mowing the lawn at the district’s rural station on Highway 170 south of town.

He noticed an owl in the roadway ditch, alive but apparently hurt.

“He saw that the owl was having trouble moving and may have had some leg injuries,” Chief Jim Davis told the Current. “So he put on his turnouts and very carefully put it in a box.”

The gloves and extra protection were necessary, as wild adult raptors can be very dangerous — particularly if they are injured. But this one was perfectly calm in Imes’ care, almost as if it sensed it needed help.

Canby Fire intern Leighton Imes and his rescuee. Photo courtesy Jim Davis.

Imes, who has served as an intern with Canby Fire since his swearing-in last August, called the Audubon Society, which came to pick up the creature later that day.

The Portland Audubon and Wildlife Care Center accept native wild animals and operates an injured wildlife hotline from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 503-292-0304.

If you find an injured wild animal, the Audubon recommends that you wear gloves and protective clothing, contain the animal in a comfortable container lined with absorbant material like an old towel, and keep the animal calm and secure until a professional is able to respond.

Do not handle the animal any more than necessary to contain it — for your protection as well as for the animal’s well-being. Wild animals are terrified of humans, and they may fight back, try to flee or freeze. Limiting contact will reduce stress on the animal.

Cover photo of Northern saw-whet owlet receiving care is courtesy the Portland Audubon.

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