Screech owl gets higher than a Georgia pine
By CHRISTOPHER O'DONNELL
N.Y. Times Regional News Service
December 14. 2005 6:01AM
SARASOTA - Veterinary staff members from Pelican Man's Bird Sanctuary were a little surprised when they were recently called to rescue a screech owl found perched in a Christmas tree that had been inside a house for five days. But the story got stranger still when medical staff examined the owl back at the sanctuary's hospital and noticed a sweet smoky smell coming from the bird. Staff took turns sniffing the bird and agreed. Not only did the bird smell of marijuana, it was clearly feeling the effects. ''The owl was leaning back on its backside and 'vegging' out,'' said Jeffrey Dering, the sanctuary's executive director. A blood sample confirmed the diagnosis: The owl was stoned.
The staff briefly considered giving the bird a bag of Cheetos, but decided to simply let the drug wear off. The owl was fine by the next day.
Although they don't normally name the birds they care for, sanctuary staff couldn't help but dub the owl Cheech the Screech, after the stoner played by Cheech Marin in the Cheech & Chong movies. Cheech is doing well and is scheduled to be released shortly.