Yesterday, a baby owl, that I have been anticipating seeing for a month, fell out of it's tree. Every Spring my barred owls make a nest in the huge Cypress tree. I wait each year, around April, for the babies to come out and sun on the branch right outside their nesting hole.
Yesterday morning, I saw mama owl up in the tree. I know she's been up there working on something but it wasn't easy to catch her. She has been sneaking in and out. She probably didn't think I have noticed. I looked over by the nesting hole and, sure enough, I caught a little glimace of a baby owl. My trees have grown so much that it is difficult for me to see the area by the owl nest, from my viewing perch. All day, mama owl was sitting up in the tree. I figured she was keeping her eye on a baby or babies, on their first trip outside there nesting hole.
In the afternoon, while I was watering my plants I heard something fall out of the owl tree. I looked and it was one of the owl babies. I have watched those babies every year, this time, for 4 years now and never knew of one to fall from the tree. Mom was still up on one of the branches but she didn't seem disturbed. I didn't know anyone to call for help but remembered my secretary's husband works for animal control. I called her. She gave me the name of a lady who has a wildlife rehab center in our town. I called her.
She told me that the best thing to do was to find a basket, to put the baby in, and hoist it up in a tree. The best bet for that baby was to let the mama owl fledge it.
I looked all over outside and couldn't find anything like that around. Then I went in the house and found a magazine basket stuffed with the throws I use on the couch. I emptied it and took it outside. I found one of my boat ropes and attached it to the basket. Now it was time to go get baby. What will mama do? I noticed she wasn't around. I got some of my heavy duty work gloves on and went and picked up the baby. It was light as a feather, pardon the pun. Big beak, big feet, attached to a large cotton ball. It looked at me as if to say, who, who, in the hell are you?
I put baby in the basket and then looked for a tree with a branch that I could throw the rope up over. I found a tree but it wasn't the owl tree. The owl tree is too tall and has no low branches. The tree I found was close by.
I attached a large screwdriver to the end of the rope and tried to pitch it up to a branch. I couldn't throw when I was young, and that saying, you're not getting older, you're getting better, didn't turn out so well for me. It took about 10 tries to get it up over a branch. I hoisted the basket up and tied it off.
After a short while, baby climbed up on the edge of the basket. It looked quite at home there. Mama came over and lit on a branch, a ways up, above the basket. I never saw her go over to the basket and I don't know if she will. Only time will tell. Anyone interested in our discussion of little Vertigo can check the comments on the last blog post.
I turned on the porch light this morning and little Vertigo is looking right at me. It's standing on the edge of it's basket. I don't know if mama fed it during the night and I have to go to work this morning. The expression on little Vertigo's face seems to yell, you saved me, you own me. It is still dark out there so I could be wrong...