I had an Eastern screech owl spend the weekend with me once--not by her choice though. And she could not see through the confinement and strange surroundings to see that I was merely trying to help her. All she could see was the discomfort and disturbance she was going through all on account of a man that was trying to keep his family warm.
She came to me by way of a phone call from our local state forest property manager. He was contacted by an individual right down the road from me who was cutting firewood. Upon cutting into a dead tree snag he was as much in shock upon seeing this screech owl on her nest with an egg as much as the screech owl was in shock of hearing this blade and then seeing it slice into her home. And as she tried to make her escape from this startling and frightening encroachment the saw blade went right through her flight feathers ending her flight to freedom--for the now. It sent her hurdling to the ground with a thud!
I was sent to get the frightened little soul and house her til help could arrive. So there she sat on my screened in porch in a box. She had the most grumpy look on her face that any screech owl could have--and with many a good reason! I tried my best to make her stay comfortable, but knowing full well this was impossible. She was ripped from her own world with terror and fury. And now this...she was uncertain of her well being, of her future, but knowing the fate of the egg that was left behind addled. And so I tried to give her peace and quiet, and darkness in the day. I was constantly worried about her and hoping help would arrive soon. I was probably as stressed as she was! Day went to evening, evening to night, and there she sat, still uncertain and not being able to do what screech owls normally do at this hour. And I slept, and peace and quiet she had, just not in her normal routine.
Morning came and with trepidation I went to check on her. Opening the door to the porch I could immediately see something was amiss with the box. Peeking in I was startled to see nothing but an egg that had been laid through the night. Obviously so interrupted during her nesting time, she had no choice but to relieve herself of this package which she knew would probably share the same fate as the first egg. But the owl? She decided to make the best of what she had before her, to try to be the owl that she was and carry on. The night time musings of an owl must go on. And so she clambered of of the box and across the floor...she must have hopped since she could not fly. And a climber she was--up the screens and found a perch for herself. A wood cut out painted bird was the perfect perch for an owl in this environment! And blend in she did. She looked content so I left her sit. In and out of the porch we went with our normal routine and showed a care she did not! Perhaps she felt a little more in her element here, more owl like, and probably felt as if we did not even know she was there!
I ended up getting so stressed out and worried myself sick over this owl...She needed some help and the help was too long in coming--so I found a rehabilitator and took her to him. She received wonderful care, shelter, and food. A comfortable place to wait out til her flight feathers grew back in. She was released back to the wild where an Eastern screech owl should be. She lost out on a nesting season and I often wonder if she found a new home or came back to the old stomping grounds. A brave little soul was she...
Yes, I had a screech owl spend the weekend with me!
Wednesday Wildflowers July 26
12 hours ago