COUNCIL officers are used to finding unusual items discarded along the roadside – but a feathered find last week proved they could still be surprised.

Cherwell’s staff were picking litter along the A40, near the A34 flyover, when they discovered a distressed barn owl on the flooded verge.

They tried to capture the bird but it moved into a ditch.

The team called out the RSPCA, which caught the bird using a net.

It was found to have a fractured wing and is now under the care of the RSPCA.

Cherwell’s street cleansing supervisor Paul Devine said: “Our officers are used to finding unusual items on litter picks but an injured owl was a first.

“The bird had suffered an obvious injury to its wing which meant it was unable to fly or do anything more than hobble.

“Had they left it, there is a good chance it would have wandered into the traffic which could have had serious consequence for both the bird and any motorists swerving to avoid it at speed.”

Afterwards the litter pick continued and staff bagged up a total of 200kg of rubbish.