Tuesday, 2 August 2022 - 2:50pm

Night shift a hoot in Eastern Bay

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Senior Constable Willy Searle in the patrol car with the morepork.

Late shifts in Ōpōtiki are never dull, but this one turned into more of a ‘hoot’ than usual.

In between dealing with two traffic matters where drivers blew over 1000mgs/l and dealing with a serious crash, Senior Constables Marty Madsen and Willy Searle's night was interrupted by this feathered friend who needed a bit of assistance.

It had been a busy night racing from one job to another when Willy came across the wee morepork in the middle of the road after it had been clipped by a car. After initially mistaking the native bird for a hedgehog, Willy rescued the stunned bird off the road.

“I put him in the car and shot back into town as Marty is a bit of a bird whisperer," says Willy. "By the time I got back to town he started to warm up and flap around a bit.” 

After recovering enough to pose for the camera and giving Willy a nip of thanks, the bird was well enough to be returned to Waiotahe Beach and released back into the wild.

While it was all jokes on the night, Willy reckons his close up encounter was “a bit of a privilege really” and definitely made for a welcome break in the steady stream of jobs.