Photo by Brendan Lally

Some of you may have already read Michael’s account of the Great Horned Owl rescue on Facebook.

But I had a part in it too, so here’s my account!

Yesterday, when I got home after grocery shopping, Michael took me over to the side of the house, pointed down toward the creek, and handed me binoculars. There, sitting on an outcrop of wood, was a motionless Great Horned Owl. Amazing critter! But I was disturbed when he said it had been sitting there all day. I resolved that if it was still there today, I’d make some calls, because that didn’t seem natural.

Sure enough, this morning, there was the owl, still in the same spot. I called my friend Kathy, who used to work with avians at Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, and she gave me some ideas where to look for wildlife rescue folks. So, after half an hour or so on the phone and internet, I spoke to a man named Ron. Ron said, “Well, sometimes they catch something big, then they stay put, eating, for a while, guarding their prey. Approach the owl and see what it does.”

Approach? MOI? Gulp! They are fierce looking critters! <a But I put on my shoes and went down to the creek. I walked until I was standing maybe 15 to 20 feet from the owl, then I waved my arms over my head and cried, "Hey! Owl! What's up?" The owl blinked once, then ignored me. Definitely not normal reaction, and there was no prey lying near it. So I went back to the house and called Ron back. He told me they were on another rescue (Michael said they'd rescued a huge snapping turtle with a crack in its shell) and that they'd come by when they could.

I was due at the Doctor's office for a checkup, so I had to leave. Michael kept in touch though, telling me how the rescue folks arrived (in a Honda Element!) and captured the owl (which they said was injured) in a net. They then popped the owl into a pussycat carrier, (heh!) and departed, after prevailing upon Michael for some hamburger to feed the turtle.

The rescue folks said they'll X ray the owl to see the extent of its injuries and if they can nurse it back to health, they will come back here, to its territory, to release it. I hope I can be there that day to see it!

And that was the Great Horned Owl rescue!