So this morning as we sat down to breakfast, we heard a cacophony of jaybird cries, and they kept going on. And then we saw shadows of birds behind the blind at the window and it looked as if they were trying to get to the window. Mystified, we opened the blind at what is rather a large window facing south and a bit east, so that we get a lot of morning sun glare, which is why the blind was still closed. On the small brick windowsill, in the corner on the right, was a small grey owl – we think a screech owl, only 4 inches tall as it hunkered down, and the jays were doing everything they could to reach the owl or to at least annoy it. Since owls are famous predators, we thought either the owl was injured or the jays felt safety in numbers, but soon the jays abandoned their efforts, either because they became aware of our presence or because they simply decided to do something else. When we approached that area of the window, the owl did one of those owl things and swiveled its head toward us and opened its eyes a bit, although when it faced outwardly, it kept its eyes closed against the sunlight.
We made some phone calls and found someone who could give us advice and who offered to receive the owl and release it to a wild area if we put it in some sort of carrier and brought it to her. We figured out that our cat carrier with a towel in it would be as good as anything else we had on hand, so my tender-hearted husband and my tender-hearted son made a plan.
Owls are such fascinating creatures. Another adventure I had with an owl, that is either a memory or simply a family story, is that when I was not quite two, we were visiting my aunt and uncle and grandmother on their farm. We had gone for a little walk along a path, perhaps to see their garden. Anyway, it must have been late afternoon because we heard an owl hoot, probably a barn owl much larger than the visitor we had this morning. Well, the unfamiliar sound frightened my very young self, and I left my parents behind and headed back at a run to my grandmother and sanctuary. When I got to the gate of the yard fence, I was really in a hurry. The gate was closed although Grandmother was just on the other side, but the ground beneath the gate was hollowed out from many goings and comings and I simply lay down and rolled under the gate, providing a lot of laughter for the family and proving that even very small children can figure out sometimes what is possible and what is not, at least if they’re scared enough.
As to the small screech owl this morning, when my husband and our son approached the creature to try to help it, it waited until our son was perhaps two feet away, and then flew over to a small crape myrtle tree nearby. Still fascinated, they then approached the owl, now with his back to the sun and his eyes very large and careful. When they got too close for the owl’s pleasure, off he simply went to what we hope was the safety of a nearby wild area. It seems the owl could fly away after all.