Bald eagles in a brawl? Foxes having loud sex? Police on the beat have to deal with all kinds of weird wildlife-related situations. And this one involves an owl and a squad car in Duluth, Minnesota.

Image © Richard LeDoux

While on patrol, police officer Richard LeDoux was flagged down by a passerby who reported seeing an owl on the roadway at a nearby intersection.

Just as LeDoux approached the avian jaywalker, the owl launched itself off the road and onto the hood of his squad car, where it perched for about a minute. The surprised officer managed to snap a photo through the windshield.

"It didn't seem to be in any hurry," LeDoux told the Duluth News Tribune. After posing for a few photos, the bird flew off, leaving LeDoux with a unique story to share back at the station.

Barred owls are widely distributed throughout Canada, the US and Mexico and, like most owls, they hunt at night or dusk. It's possible that this one was drawn to the warmth of the roadway or the lure of a scuttling rodent.

LeDoux initially suspected the bird may have been injured, but this seems unlikely since the animal flew off easily after its pit stop on the hood. Instead, it's possible that the bird was stunned by the headlights of a passing car and became disorientated.

Neuroscientist Dr John Douglas Pettigrew from the University of Queensland points out that the eyes of both birds and mammals can take a long time to adjust, up to 30 or 40 minutes, when exposed to bright light. "A nocturnally hunting bird would therefore be out of action in dim light for around one hour after being exposed to the spotlight [or other bright light source]," he notes.



Header image: cuatrok77