Monday, June 14, 2010




As soon as we had the doggy guys fed this morning we headed for the pond area where we had seen the Great Horned Owl Sunday morning.  Our neighbor came out saying the crows had been harassing the owl & that this was the 4th day she had seen it on the ground at the far end of the pond.  She had tried to call the MNR (Ministry of National Resources) but had no luck.  Had we known the owl had been on the ground that long we may have tried putting a sheet over it yesterday, bringing it home & finding help for it much sooner.



Walking quickly now & rounding the first corner of the pond I looked to the far end hoping to see the owl but he was not there.  Upon approaching a line of pine trees I saw a crumpled pile of feathers on the ground laying motionless in the grass.  The owl never moved when we approached & I was sure he was dead.  Max walked over & began to sniff the owl & suddenly there was movement as the owl lifted it's head slowly & opened it's big eyes staring at Max.  It was alive, but just barely, & it was too weak to move.  With the recent knowledge that it had been here 4 days I assumed it was dying of starvation.  Our first thought was to try & get some food in him so we raced home & brought back some Tuna.  We found out later this is not the right thing to do.  I sat down beside him & tried to get a small chunk of Tuna in his/her beak but to no avail.  We talked softly to the owl petting him very lightly trying to decide what to do.  Just 24 hours before the little fellow didn't want our help, but this morning the little guy needed our help.

We knew we could not leave him there in that condition so I carefully picked him up & carried him home.  He didn't try to fight or bite me and he was able to sit quietly in my arms with his eyes open looking ahead.  I brought him into the kitchen thinking I could maybe get a little Tuna juice into him with an eye dropper.  He tried to eat & at one point put his beak on my finger but didn't have the strength to bite.  But, he was still strong enough to at least hold his head up & partially keep his eyes open.  There was no movement in his wings, legs, or feet.   Meanwhile, Kelly was working feverishly on the computer & phone trying to find out what we should do & where we could take him. 

A computer site said to keep the owl calm by putting it in a small box with a blanket & place the box in a quiet dark place.  I didn't attempt to feed it anything more because the site also said not to do that.  Rounded up a box  & carefully placed him in it & put the box in our workshop shed outside.  It took Kelly half a dozen phone calls around the Province before she was finally directed to a facility west of London Ontario that could help us.  The people at SALTHAVEN Wildlife Rehabilitation & Education Center asked some questions about the owl's condition over the phone & then said to bring the owl to their facility if we could.  Didn't take us long to make the right decision.

Fifteen minutes after the phone call we were on the road headed for the town of Mount Brydges Ontario about an hour & half drive south of our place.  I didn't have much hope for the poor little fellow in the box behind my seat because he could hardly move & I fully expected he would die before we got there.  Kelly checked him once & got a slight movement but the second time she checked about a half hour later there was no movement.  I pulled over to the side of the road & gently reached in the box to lift him up & see if his head drooped.  He had felt warm when I carried him from the pond area but now he felt cold.  He gave a slight shake so I knew he was still alive & we quickly continued on our mission. 



By the time we were west of London we were in unfamiliar territory & Kelly had to haul out a map to navigate us through a series of left & right highway turns before finally making it to the town of Mount Brydges. With the directions SALTHAVEN had given Kelly over the phone we quickly found the facility.  Staff came to the van immediately as I set the box on the grass beside the van. They began assessing the poor little guy's condition.  It did not look good.  They checked for wing damage etc & quickly got a heating pad under him.  His eyes were open at times & he moved his head in the direction the help was coming from but for the most part he was barely able to respond.  The girls placed him in a carrier taking him inside to begin the process of intravenously getting fluids into him.  We had done all we could & it was now in the hands of the animal rescue staff.  We gave them some more details on where we had found the owl plus our name, phone number, & email address.  It was at this point where they explained about the complex eating & digesting process of owls & how it was important not to try to feed them no matter what.  Of course I immediately felt bad for trying to get the little guy to eat some Tuna.

We left the rescue center & decided to take a different way home.  We were both feeling a bit stressed & in need of a coffee.  Decided to head west on highway 402 & then north up through the little town of Forest where we knew a Tim Horton's existed.  This is the same Tim Horton's that we always first stop at upon returning from the American Southwest every spring.  While motoring through the town of Forest, Kelly spotted a Chrysler/Jeep dealer so we popped in but they didn't have any used Bayfield Bunch Wranglers on the lot for us.  We were back in Bayfield by 1:30 & stopped at Deer Park Lodge to see if Kelly had missed anything by not being there this morning.  Fortunately everything was fine & we were home a few minutes later.

My Uncle Harry's health is deteriorating rapidly & an email was waiting for us from his good friend Grace with some grave concerns.  Kelly was again immediately on the phone & in touch with Harry's care personnel people with inquiries, instructions, & changes.  We feel we quickly have to get him to a nursing home facility for additional care.  That whole process was started about a month ago but now we are thinking time is of the essence.

All & all, despite the sadness & concern over the Great Horned Owl, this was a good day.  No time for my idle mind to grumble about itself.  We were in a position to be of help to an animal in distress & it was just great going somewhere & doing something together just like when we are traveling.  We motored down some new roads, saw some new towns, & briefly met a small group of volunteer people dedicated to the love & care of injured animals.

Late this afternoon we received the following email from Salthaven.......

Hi Kelly & Al 
Unfortunately this little guy died just a few short hours after you got him to us.
Thank you for taking the time to care.
Brian C. Salt
Director of Wildlife Rehabilitation
Salthaven Wildlife Rehabilitation & Education Centre Inc.
P.O. Box 601 Mount Brydges ON. Canada, N0L 1W0
See how you can help:
B/N 85386 3546 RR0001

Out of respect for our little owl there will be no groaner's corner tonight.



Tourists see the world, travelers experience it.




AL'S SMUG MUG PHOTO GALLERY (a work in progress)

The only thing better than right now will someday be the memories of right now...... AL.


  1. I have tears in my eyes reading your post, poor little owl--you guys were great to try and help the poor thing.

  2. That is so sad to hear about the death of the little owl you found. It was great of you and Kelly to go to the trouble of helping him and getting the owl to the care facility. At least he didn't die a painful death at the hands of a predator.

    Sure hope Uncle Harry rallies and recovers from his latest problems. Keep us all posted.

  3. It says a lot about you and Kelly that you'd take the time to drive all that way to try to rescue that beautiful owl. I wish more people would respect animals and give them the kindness you did today.


  4. That is so sad, makes me cry. But you did everything you could, more in fact. What a beautiful creature he was. What a shame to loose such a wonderful animal.

  5. What a heroic effort to try to save the little owl....I guess this is an example of "survival of the fittest"...It is so frustrating when you try to save wildlife and your efforts are for naught....At least you tried....I am in tears....

  6. I'm getting tears all over my keyboard.

  7. What special people you and Kelly are. You did all you could and he certainly had two good friends with you all. Sorry he didn't make it.
    I will continue to keep your Uncle Harry in my thoughts and prayers. What a special man. Please keep us updated on his condition.

    Take care!
    Mike & Gerri (happytrails)

  8. words are not coming today for me..just sadness for this poor owl
    tears are flowing..we are thankful for people like you and Kelly

  9. Some people may disagree, but I know that little owl knew you were trying to care for him. He died, and that is very sad, but before he died he had the opportunity to know that wonderful, wonderful people had taken the time to care about him and try to help him. Animals in his situation are totally helpless and at least he did not die all alone in the woods scared to death of those crows that were harrassing him.

    I will keep Uncle Harry in my thoughts and prayers. He, too, like the little owl knows that you and Kelly have been concerned for him and have been looking after his best interests. Maybe he will have the opportunity to enjoy some quality of life yet. Let's hope so.

    Thanks for the post tonight, it was really special.

  10. Well that's too bad that you couldn't save him. but it wasn't for the lack of effort. You went the complete distance for him, so your mind should be clear. He's in Owl heaven knowing that some humans did everything they could.

  11. Al - nice of you and Kelly to try and save the owl. Sad to hear it didn't work out. But the story you shared will likely be of help to others that may be in a similar situation one day. Very good of you to go to all that effort and then to write about. it.

  12. Nice try Al and Kelly, nice tribute to. Yes, I got tears in my eyes too..... i will never get used to Death no matter what..or who! I.m still morning my 2 boy's. I know its Gods plan, and they are in a better place, but its still tough. You guys did good!!

  13. I agree, You and Kelly went above and beyond the call of duty, most people especially someone not used to being around animals would have been afraid to even pick up a bird of that size, and a healthy owl has a very powerful and sharp beak, perfectly capable of severing a finger, IT shows that you have a natural ablility to convey your feelings to this poor creature, you did what you could, and it's final moments were indeed a lot better that what awaited it in the wild. Be safe out there Sam & Donna.

  14. You two are earning your halos, to be sure!

  15. You two are earning your halos, to be sure!

  16. I was happy to hear that you went back for the owl. It's a shame it didn't turn out well, but such is life. You at least gave it a chance. Good on you!

  17. I'm sitting at work crying while reading this post. My tears are two-fold. One is happy tears for the thought and care that went into trying to help the little Owl and one is sad tears to learn that the owl passed on.
    I'm sure there is a Rainbow Bridge for all animals. Just knowing that you helped and did what you could should be enough for you to sleep at night.
    Great that you care.
    The world is a better place when people care.

  18. That was great of you attempting to help the owl. Not many people would have bothered. I'm sorry he didn't make it.

  19. A day late, but you guys are heroes, you are the good guys.

  20. Aww! Such a shame.
    I can't see to type for my tears.
    Thanks for caring.
    Happy Trails, Penny, TX