I remember a statement made by an old family friend that went something like this…”What the heck did you do a thing like that in a place like this?” Maybe not exact words but you get the gist of it.
That was what I was thinking when I went to dig out a snowy owl from a filthy alleyway, reeking of body wastes and littered with needles and glass. The ravens who had forced him there, screamed at me while I gathered the dirt encrusted owl up in a towel. It was May, and he should have been long gone.
A call from a City of Kenora employee one morning filled me in on a report by a local store owner about an owl in the alley. Sometimes I get skeptical, as incorrect identification is common in my calls, especially if birds are young. For example, the strange looking squabs (pigeons) have been reported as injured baby pelicans…but I digress.
And I was even more skeptical when they said it was a snowy. No snowy in its right mind would still be in these southern parts at this time of year…and not in the center of a busy city block…
But there he was, all beak clacking and hissing as I peered into the disgusting mess he sat on. I had the foresight to put on my safety boots that morning and had heavy gauntlets. Used needles scare the beegeebees out of me. I crunched may way out through the broken glass and waste and took the poor thing out into the daylight. The gentleman who reported it was waiting to make sure all was well. Had he not been curious of what the ravens were screaming at, the owl would likely not have been discovered until it was too late. I thanked him for his help, and headed home.
The owl was in good body shape, with only a dirty tail and feet. He readily climbed into his drinking bowl and bathed and drank. Saved me trying to clean lord knows what off him!
I fed it up for a few days, and saw no reason why he couldn’t be on his way.
When I took him out to our big field, I had my big net handy, in case he failed his flight test. But I didn’t have to worry, as he flew up, up and away, strong and determined.
He had a long ways to go to his northern habitat, but I think he will be fine.
ready to go…