Wednesday, June 25, 2014

This Owl gave a hoot...

Several members of our family and friends and neighbors gathered in my brother, Tom and sister in law, Sue's, lovely backyard and watched the release of an owl.

I never could live in a town, much less a city, but this sight out their backyard would make it a bit more palatable. 

A couple weeks ago, Tom and Sue were alerted by their neighbor that an injured owl was in the back green space area. Tom grabbed a large beach towel and captured the owl, but not without a tussle. They located a local wild rescue group and eventually was able to get 'Hoot Gibson' to a lady who would care for him.

(Hoot was determined to have a badly broken bone in his wing and was sent to Carroll, IA for surgery and rehab.)

Tom and Sue were contacted by the rehabber that they had a juvenile great horned owl they would like to release in their backyard so an impromptu picnic was hastily organized, complete with champagne and sparkling grape juice to toast the return to the wild.

I forgot the young man's name who brought the owl, you can tell he really gets into his job because he spent a lot of time talking about the wildlife and their rescue group.

All the time we are thinking, "GET ON WITH IT!!!"

He finally got down to business, first donning a pair of elbow length Kevlar gloves!

(To think, Tom used a beach towel, wimp!)  

Opening the latch....

...gloving up.....

"I'm going in!"

There was a lot of commotion inside the cage, feathers flying, wood chip bedding sailing out the door and a loud 'clacking' that turned out to be the owl's beak.

They wrestled around on the ground, the young man trying to get a good hold on the owl and the owl expressing his extreme displeasure of the man-handling he was receiving.

(I expected to hear some expletives, "D#@$ you owl, let the H%!~ go of me!!)

But he was very professional and kept his cool.....

....finally getting hold of both the legs and neck without getting speared with those talons or bit in the belly with that wicked beak.

We thought he was awful close!

"You want a piece of me??"

Look at those gorgeous eyes.

He is calming down but continued to 'clack' his beak.

A full body view.

Again, those eyes, I wouldn't want to mess with him, would you?

With a great heave, the young man tossed the young owl into the air and he flew!

Down the hill, across the green space and landed in this driveway....

The speck that you can see to the left of that electric pole is the owl. He sat there quite awhile, we could watch other smaller birds dive bombing him, trying to get him to fly but he just sat and took stock of his surrounding.

We were hoping the home owner wouldn't come zooming in the driveway and run over him! Wouldn't that be a revolting development??

Just as the young man was getting a little concerned about his charge, Tom saw the owl lift off and fly over the garage and disappear.

It was a great evening, how satisfying to see a wild creature successfully returned to nature, I felt like belting out "Born Free" - but that would have caused the party to break up pretty quickly.

And possibly a call to the police for violation of a noise ordinance.

So I sang it to myself, I sounded great.


  1. I think a bunch of us would have sung with you, it was an exhilarating event to see that owl free again. Love your blog..............

  2. I have never seen a live owl that close up ever! Those talons were so long, they did look wicked! Very cool for you to be there to take all these great pictures! Great blog subject too! Enjoyed it as always!

  3. It was great to have so many people over for the release of the Great Horned Owl. Hopefully 'Hoot Gibson' will be able to be released back to the wild and we can have another picnic to celebrate his return to the wild.

    Thanks to Julie for the Sneaky's chicken plus wine and the rest of the family for all the side dishes.

    Love your blog Julie!

  4. oh I agree, I think many would have sung gloriously along with you...great film footage of the owl, esp. the closeup and then the release as the man's arm is finally free of the bird - loved it Julie, esp. the way you ended it!! SO enjoy your words, honey...CG