Cat Scan

News… and then some.

WCAX — Owl Survives Truck Hit PKG 12/19/12

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By Cat Viglienzoni — December 20, 2012

Yesterday was probably the most amazing story I’ve gotten to cover yet — and it combined two things I love: survival stories and puffy owls.

Vt. Fish & Wildlife had sent us the night before some amazing photos of a rescue that happened on December 11 — a barred owl had swooped down in front of his truck while he was driving — and been hit. The driver was sure the bird was killed but amazingly — it was still alive and kicking. BUT it was stuck head-first in the truck’s grill. So biologists freed it and monitored it for a few hours before they set it free, since the bird was alert and there was no blood or discernible damage to the owl.

It was such a compelling story, since from the photos it seems impossible that the bird could have made it. So I asked my news director when I got home if I could do a follow-up story the next day and talk to the biologist, as well as a bird rehabilitator who I’d worked with in the past about what typically happens in these cases.

The result was this piece, which aired on the 6 p.m. news on December 19:

This may be my favorite piece I’ve done, mostly because I am surprised the owl apparently made it. Obviously it’s possible the bird had some unseen trauma that didn’t appear right away and it died later, but the biologists watched it for hours before they set it free, and they said it was flying just fine between trees when it did, so I’m taking a positive approach to the situation.

As for the piece I thought it worked well, with using the first part of the piece to tell this amazing survival story, and then using the standup as a bridge to transition to the second part, with Newman talking about what usually happens in these cases and what they have to do to help those that survive but are injured.

And of course, great shooting from the photographer I worked with, Joe Carroll. He caught all the owl’s good sides.

But really — what a story!

I also ended up being “Today’s Talk” on the :30 that night — that’s our 5:30 p.m. newscast with an interview-style format. In that piece, they took direct sound from my interview and wove it together into a piece talking about how the biologist freed the bird.

I had logged the sound from my interview and given it to the anchor so they could craft a segment from it — and I’d worn a mic during my interview so we could catch the questions/statements from me.

Lastly — it took a lot of restraint, but I managed to refrain from writing after seeing the truck’s broken grill that it was the owl that was “Built Ford Tough”. 😉

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Written by Cat Viglienzoni

December 20, 2012 at 5:01 PM

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