Owls are animals you're more likely to hear than see, but a SouthCoast family found themselves up close and personal with one in a highly unexpected way.

In Tiverton, the Freitas family was driving back home after grabbing dinner from Subway. Tamara, the mother, was pulling up to her house when she and the kids spotted what looked like a package in their mailbox.

However, as they got closer they realized the "package" was moving. They got close enough to learn it wasn't really a package at all, but an owl.

"About three weeks ago around 2 a.m., I could hear them (owls) somewhere out there," Freitas said. "When I looked outside, I couldn’t see them or find them until we found it in the mailbox so I’m thinking it's just a baby."

Courtesy Tamara Freitas
Courtesy Tamara Freitas

It's uncertain what type of owl the Freitas family has on their hands, but a little research comparing the owl to the different breeds found in the United States suggests it could be a "Short-Eared Owl" according to Countryside.com's Field Guide to Common Owl Species.

"You may not even see the ear tufts on the short-eared owl, hence the name. This medium-sized owl breaks the rule of a nighttime hunter. It hunts during the day flying low over grasslands and open areas. Look for the short-eared owl mainly in winter throughout the United States. Their prey includes small mammals and small birds. In the open areas they inhabit, they will perch in low trees and on the ground. The sound of the short-eared owl is described as an emphatic, sneeze-like bark: kee-yow!, wow! or waow!

This has Hedwig written all over it, Harry Potter fans.

"Maybe I get too many packages from Amazon and Harry Potter sent him to refuse anymore," Freitas joked.

At least the Freitas family won't have to worry about rodents or mice invading their property and the kids got to see an owl up close.

Something not many can say they've experienced before.

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