An Eastern Screech Owl, Red Morph
WOW! I can't believe it has been almost a month since I posted last. I have been incredibly crazy busy lately with homeschooling, knitting, new winter beads, a few custom orders and my daughter's eye surgery(nothing serious, she just had to have her tear duct unclogged and it literally took less than 10 minutes! She is doing excellent!) On top of that I had an amazing surprise the other morning. I had gotten up early on Wednesday morning to make some beads and my husband woke up around 8:30 am. He was letting our dog Daisy out in the backyard and quickly ran back inside and said, "You have to get outside now and help it, QUICKLY!" Well I was incredibly puzzled as to WHAT in the world it could be and WHAT would need my help so urgently...the chickens were still cooped and hadn't been let out for the morning yet, so I at least eliminated them. I am definitely no stranger to wild animals, amphibians, insects and reptiles on our property since we live in the country and I have had to rescue a few here and there so I expected a snake or something of that nature. I rushed outside as quick as I could and literally my jaw dropped open. There entangled in the deer netting around our backyard was an Eastern Screech Owl that was struggling to free itself....and when I say struggling, I mean it was flapping as hard as it could and was so exhausted it could barely keep itself upright. My heart dropped and I immediately ran to get my leather gloves from the barn and yelled at my husband to go get the scissors. I ran to the outside of the fence and gently clutched the owl in my hands. I was terrified but not of the owl or getting hurt...only that the owl might die. It's left talon was twisted and entangled terribly in the netting. My husband returned quickly with the scissors and I cut the owl free of the netting and got to work on removing the rest from around it's left foot and talon. I gently snipped piece after piece of the netting away and had to remove my gloves to be able to get the smaller pieces....the poor owl was in shock so I new he wasn't going to hurt me....I just wanted to free it's foot as quickly as possible so it might have a chance to live. I was finally able to remove all of the netting and I gently held the owl in my hands. Since we have chickens and I have treated an injured chicken that was in shock, I knew it was important to keep the owl warm and give it a little water so it didn't die from the shock....I held it until it finally started to perk up a little and brought it inside and put it into one of the cages we use for the chickens when they are injured...I put a sheet in the bottom and sat the owl gently in the cage and covered it with a blanket to make it dark. By now I knew the owl's foot was injured and it would need some type of help so I begin to look for a wildlife rehabilitator and came across several phone numbers. After speaking to several people it was decided that a woman named Lynn McCoy would be my best bet since she was the closest to me but still about an hour away. I spoke with her and she said that of course she would take the owl and it was perfect timing because she had two other Screech Owls on their way to the vet the next morning. So I made plans to drop the owl off with one of her volunteers about 30 minutes away. So I was hopeful that the owl would be okay. I called the next day and she said that the owl had been in good spirits that morning and it was definitely able to fly so it would just be a matter of what the vet decided about the left foot. After waiting a few hours more, we finally got the news: The owl would indeed be able to make a full recovery and it would take anywhere from 1-2 weeks. The talon DID have feeling and it was injured mostly where the blood supply had been cut off for the time it was entangled. I asked her if it would be able to be released back here since it's home is here and she said, "Well normally they head straight for home when they are released but if you would like to come and pick up the owl and release it back where you live then that would be fine too!" I literally started jumping up and down in my mind because I was still on the phone but WOW WOW WOW! What an amazing opportunity!!!! I absolutely LOVE owls and have heard them often but have never seen one so close and definitely NEVER touched one. I feel so very blessed to have been able to see one of God's magnificent creatures so very close. It was absolutely beautiful and more incredible than I could have ever imagined. What's amazing is that the owl never once tried to nip or bite me, almost like it KNEW we were trying to help it. I never ceased to be amazed at God's creation and carry great respect for everything He has created. I felt horrible about the owl getting caught in the deer netting because I NEVER thought that in a million years that could happen....the wildlife rehabilitator said that it is not a common occurrence but does indeed happen sometimes. We have the deer netting up around our backyard because it keeps our chickens from flying over the fences and wandering when we don't want them to free range without our knowledge. We put it up after our hen Twinkle was killed by a neighborhood husky. So if you have deer netting remember to ALWAYS check it to make sure small animals, birds and reptiles haven't become tangled in the netting. I have had to free a beautiful black rat snake and a very large dragonfly(it sat on my hand after I freed it and nipped me lightly as a thank you then flew off!)before as well that became tangled in the netting but never even considered that an owl would get caught. It is only a guess but I think it most likely got caught trying to fly down and get a mouse or something that it saw in our backyard because it was clutching the netting in it's talon like they do when they dive for prey. So I will definitely post again when we bring the owl back for release and we should know then if it is a male or female! I also am going to start volunteering in the Spring at the wildlife sanctuary about an hour from here...Spring means babies!:) SO EXCITING! I will keep ya posted! Here are some photos that my son Sebastian took of the owl....He is an ever budding photographer and LOVES taking photos(sometimes incessantly, but I am so glad he was able to document this event! A special thanks to him for capturing these photos and videos!) And if your interest is piqued at all, check out this page from allaboutbirds.org about the Eastern Screech Owl! They are amazing creatures and absolutely beautiful! In the meantime, stay tuned!:)
This is a compilation of videos that my son Sebastian took as we were getting the owl ready to go. The owl was very curious about us! It held on with it's talon as I was trying to get it out and I had to gently touch it's talon with my finger to get it to let go. After watching the video yesterday, I realized that the owl unclenches it's injured talon towards the end of the video! Music in the video is from DiscoveryDinosaurs, Super-Cute Video of Dinosaur Babies!