HARRIS TOWNSHIP, Mich (WJMN) – “It was a rescue,” said Monika Kross. “You know, someone needed to intervene, and I was there.”

It was late at night when Monika Kross caught something out of the corner of her eye as she drove on a dark Delta County road. Something caused her to take notice and turn back and save the life of whom she named Ollie the barred owl.

“When I swung around, and I put my headlights on his little face, he was very much alive, just frozen stiff from being concussed,” said Kross.

Kross scooped the bird up into her coat, perched him on her dash, and drove home. Though not recommended, Kross a was able to actually pet the bird and soothe him during the ride.

“Having him up on my dashboard behind my steering wheel and just, you know, having a good conversation with them and just getting him to calm down,” said Kross. “I was able just to put him back into my coat and bring them inside my house. Ollie actually spent the night in a spare bedroom that I was painting.”

The juvenile owl was later taken to the Upper Peninsula Wildlife Rehabilitation Center in Hancock where he was cared for by Beth Matta and made a full recovery.

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“When he was released from the restricted enclosure, into the flight enclosure, he flew great,” said Matta. “In fact, I didn’t have to exercise him at all or encourage him. He would fly every time I brought food out, he went back and forth and flew beautifully.”

After two weeks of rehab, Ollie was well enough to be released back into the wild. The culmination of happenstance, altruism, caring, and a bit of good fortune.

“It was amazing to see him fly off,” Kross said. “You know, get a glimpse of him but it was a surreal experience. You know, to be there close to a creature that beautiful.”

According to Matta, one of the biggest threats to raptors is ingesting lead…either from fishing tackle or from deer entrails left for the birds to scavenge.

“The deer is gutted and then they’ve got piles left behind that the scavengers come in and feed off of that.” Matta said. “And all it takes is a piece of led the size of a grain of rice to kill a bald eagle.”

For Monika and Ollie this story has a happy ending…and where is Ollie now?

“He’s Definitely with his family right now. I know that for a fact.” Said Kross.