It was Easter Sunday when the call came in about two baby Great Horned Owls. One baby was injured, but the other seemed all right. The woman who called said she had watched for several hours to see if a mother came in to care for the young and it was clear that no parent was coming down to the babies. I advised her to bring them to me.
Upon arrival it was apparent that the one baby had internal injuries; he died before we were able to get him to a veterinarian. The other baby was healthy and strong. After a couple months of work, our baby was ready for release: he knew how to fly, hunt, and kill…the whole nine yards.
It was the day before Memorial Day, and Ron and I decided it would be a good day to release the owl. We took him to a place in Medina where some friends have some property with a pond. We walked back through the woods and found a good place and released the owl. When we released the owl, he flew up into the air, made a couple of circles and decided to do “the unheard of” in all my years of rehab. He flew right into and landed in the pond! It was a beautiful, graceful landing. We watched in amazement. He had landed right where he intended. For over fifteen minutes he just sat there enjoying the surrounding and the water, apparently cooling off since it was extremely hot that day.
Finally, he decided to swim to shore. It was the most amazing sight. It was almost like a butterfly stoke that humans do in the water. He would stretch his big powerful wings out and pull himself forward and his entire body would come up out of the water. What a sight to see!! When he arrived at the shore, he walked out of the water, sat on a branch for some time and then made a decision. I thought his decision was going to be to fly…WRONG! This crazy, mixed up owl jumped back into the water, swam out to the center of the pond and just enjoyed the water. I could not believe what my eyes. He sat there for a long time and finally decided to do the owl thing and fly (I know, I know, ducks fly too).
When this owl was with me, he was always in his large container of water. I had never had an owl that wanted to stand in his water dish all the time. I certainly never expected him to want to live in a pond when he was released: it just wasn’t normal. Could he have been a new species of owl or just mixed up?
Copyright 2017 Fran Kitchen
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