Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Great Horned Owl Rescue

My mother always tells me that my life is never boring living on a farm.  This is spoken from two retired people who basically read all day and a great outing for them is Sams and Walmart!  

Needless to say, the other week, hubby was planting corn about 10 miles from our house on a piece of land that we rent.  To say that our family is "owl crazy" would be an understatement!  Anyway, he sent me a wonderful photo on my phone of a great horned owl just on the edge of the field.  Truly beautiful!  

I called him - "Its 8:30am - what is he still doing up??"  "He's pecking at something at his feet - I think its a snake or something..."  OK.  

Hubby went about his planting and returned to that field several hours later - the owl in the exact same place.  Huh, something is not right.  He got out and approached slowly.  Wasn't this poor owl's foot caught in a trap!!!  How illegal!  He called with game warden who came and helped remove the trap.  Obviously the owl was badly injured - not only his right leg but also his left eye had a permanently dilated pupil.  The game warden said to leave the owl alone and let Mother Nature take its course - the owl will probably fly off. 

Well, it didn't.  So hubby calls me - "Whatcha doing?"  Oh, nothing, of are home for Spring break and fighting, getting ready to start my strawberry jam, stripping beds, doing know....nothing much.

"Well, an injured owl is heading your way and will be there in about 10 minutes"  He had called a cousin with a dog kennel and caught him. He was transporting it to my house.   

"Better go to the pond and catch some fish for him to eat!"  OK, I'll just put that on my list to do for today.  

Oh my gosh!!!  Now what!  

The cousin named him "Pete" on the ride to my house and my two sons immediately fell in love......

He was very calm - probably very tired from being in that trap and also in a lot of pain. 

 His left eye obviously injured as well.  

Look at those eyelids!!!

Anyway, I jumped on the Internet and actually found a raptor rescue volunteer in a few counties over.
"Boys, use the restroom and put on your shoes - we're going on a road trip."  They were thrilled :)

I also saw on "transporting" an injured owl that they need to be covered with a dark sheet and have NO noise.  Wow, it was a wonderful trip.  No music, no DVD, only a little whispering and a lot of hand signals.....if you ever need your kids to be quiet, cover a box in the back and tell them you're transporting an owl - hahahaha.

The rescue woman was so nice and spent time answering the boys' questions about owls.  Really educational.  I asked her to please call me after the vet visit to let me know how Pete did.

Only an hour or two later, the phone rang.  Pete had apparently had his leg in that trap for several days and his foot was only hanging on by a tendon - the bone was dead and brown.  Federal law requires for perching birds even in captivity to have two good feet - they can have one wing - but need two feet to bear weight on.  They had to put him to sleep.

I sat the boys down and told them what had happened.  They cried most of the evening.  I encouraged them that all of us did the right thing by trying to get help for Pete.  He just went to sleep peacefully instead of starving to death out in the field or getting eaten by coyotes.

What a wonderful experience for all of us - when will we ever be in the company of  a Great Horned Owl!!

Pete will always have a special place in our hearts.  


  1. He was beautiful and it really was a good lesson for the kids! It's not an easy one for them to learn, my kids' bum calf died last week and it broke their hearts! Thanks for sharing with us!

    1. It is a hard lesson for everyone - especially children. Thank you for following the blog.



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