Salem mechanics discover owl stowaway under the hoodBy MELISSA PROULX
Union Leader Correspondent
December 15. 2017 1:47PM
SALEM — It wasn’t what mechanics found in the engine bay of a vehicle Friday that was so surprising, it was whooo.
Popping the hood for a routine oil change, mechanics at Pep Boys on South Broadway found an eastern screech owl perched in the engine bay.
“The mechanic popped open the hood and he was sitting right there,” said Mike Holliday, service manager at the location.
At first, mechanics couldn’t tell if the bird of prey was alive or dead, said Holliday.
“He looked frozen solid,” he said.
When a worker gave the owl a little poke its eyes popped open, but it remained perched atop the car’s wire box, Holliday said.
The owner of the shop was informed. Soon, she and other customers wanted a look, he said.
Salem police were called to come collect the owl.
Dubbed “Shazam” by police, the bird was lethargic but friendly. How it got under the hood is a mystery.
“We figured he was either seeking warmth or chasing a mouse,” police said on the department’s Facebook page.
Holliday said it’s not uncommon to find animals in engines this time of year, but this was definitely a first for the Salem Pep Boys.
Eastern screech owls are a nocturnal bird of prey common throughout North America, according to the National Audubon Society’s website. Though the name implies otherwise, the owl’s call is actually made up of whinnies and soft trills, according to the site.
Shazam was brought to On The Wing animal rehabilitation center in Epping.
“Good luck Shazam, we hope you heal well!,” police wrote.
After the delightful distraction, Pep Boys finished the oil change.
“It was a pretty interesting morning for sure,” said Holliday.