So, remember how I mentioned the owls that fly around the field where we take Athena? A few days ago we were all at the field together, and I left to go get something from the car. When I came back, Nate was pointing under a garbage can and motioning for me to speak quietly.
There was a small owl, maybe a ten inches tall, under the garbage can, and it wasn’t trying to fly away even though we were there with a squawking baby and a dog running around. It looked like it was watching us and just trying to stay hidden. The poor little owl was clearly injured.
When we got home, I asked on FaceBook what I should do about the injured owl, and someone mentioned that she’d talked to her vet, and if we could get the owl to him, he’d be able to help. It was starting to get dark by that point, and we had no desire to try to extract a baby owl from the field when it’s enormous parents were flying overhead.
The next morning our driver, Kalam, and I went back to the field, equipped with a large old towel and a big cardboard box with ventilation holes poked in it. The owl, who I have since named Hootie, saw us coming and tried to get away, but she could only fly about three feet. Kalam tried to place the towel over her so he could pick her up, but Hootie wasn’t interested.
You know how it looks when you chase a chicken? The chicken tries to fly, flapping it’s wings, doesn’t get far, and you dart around after it? Maybe you’ve never chased a chicken, but that’s pretty much what happens. Anyways, that’s what it looked like as we (technically, Kalam) chased Hootie. Eventually he got the towel over her and he was able to gently pick her up and place her in the box.
The vet’s office is outside of the zone in which we are allowed to travel, so Kalam transported Hootie to the office and left her with some staff members until the vet was able to see her. I talked to the vet that evening, and he said her wings were damaged, probably by boys throwing rocks at her.
The next day the vet called again and said they were letting Hootie go that evening. She was not eating in captivity, and he felt that she had healed enough that she would be able to survive. He said they could let her go at the university, where there is a forest and lots of green space, or that Kalam could pick her and we could let her go in the field, which is surrounded by apartment buildings. I asked what would give her the best chance of survival, and he said he thought the forest at the university would be good for her.
Hopefully Hootie is learning how to fly and hunt like a good little owl should, and she will grow big and strong!