Hedwig ... is that you?
A Duluth police officer was flagged down earlier this week to help an owl that was in the road. But when he stopped, the owl flew onto the hood of his squad car, officer Rob Hurst tweeted Tuesday.
The bird stayed for about a minute – just long enough for officer Richard LeDoux to snap a photo – before flying away, apparently uninjured, the Duluth News Tribune says.
Naturally, Hurst's tweet led to hoot puns and Harry Potter references.
This doesn't happen very often
The Duluth News Tribune says the owl is a barred owl (for reference, Harry Potter's trusty owl Hedwig is a snowy owl). And they aren't often seen in cities – or on the hoods of police cars – so the sighting at the busy intersection of 21st Avenue East and Superior Street on Monday was quite surprising.
Barred owls live in the dense forested areas of eastern Minnesota, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources says. The bird looks similar to a great horned owl, but it's smaller and doesn't have tufts on its ears – also, it has dark eyes, while every other owl in Minnesota has yellow eyes.
You can tell a barred owl by it's distinctive hooting, which sounds like "who cooks for you, who cooks for you-all," as well as its "eerie wails and screeches," the DNR says.
Another fun fact about the barred owl: its right ear is higher than its left ear. These angles help the bird pinpoint the location of its prey (usually mice, squirrels, rabbits, birds, frogs, fish and crayfish).