Duluth police officer Richard LeDoux was on patrol in the eastern part of town Monday night when a passerby waved him over.
The person wanted to report what appeared to be an injured owl on the roadway in the busy intersection of 21st Avenue East and Superior Street.
"They thought it had maybe been hit by car," LeDoux told the News Tribune.
But as LeDoux pulled up and prepared to call a local animal rescue organization, the barred owl jumped onto the hood of his squad car.
LeDoux quickly grabbed his cell phone and snapped a photo as the owl appeared to be peering into the squad through the windshield.
"It was there maybe a minute or so. It didn't seem to be in any hurry,'' LeDoux said.
Eventually the owl took off and flew away, apparently uninjured. And will never know why it landed there.
Barred owls aren't all white, this one just looks that way due to the lighting in the photo, said Laura Erickson, Duluth bird expert. They are usually mottled buff, brown and white. Barred owls are fairly common in the Northland, but aren't often seen in the city, especially on the hoods of squad cars. You can identify barred owls by their hoot, the distinctive "Who cooks for you? Who cooks for you-all?"
Erickson said barred owls favor moist forests for habitat. They often nest in tree cavities.