Tuesday, June 12, 2012




It was the wee quiet hours of morn when I sat comfortably in my recliner chair beside the open patio door listening to a warm rain. I could see by the light of our driveway lamp post a slight mist hanging in the boughs of the Pine trees.   The air was still & dark except for a few rolls of distant thunder out over the lake.   I could hear the sometimes heavy raindrops on the foliage by our deck.  Even the mornings many Songbirds were not yet awake.  I knew our rain barrel would be filled to overflowing as I pondered the days upcoming events, whatever they might be.  Little did I know that within a couple hours Kelly & I would be on another mission to save a downed Great Horned Owl.


Phone rang about 8 a.m.  It was our neighbor Rita across the road saying a bunch of birds were dive bombing what appeared to be a young Owl on the ground.  Some of you long time readers may remember the same scenario happening a couple years ago almost to the exact same day when Kelly & I TRIED TO SAVE A YOUNG GREAT HORNED OWL in the same place under the same circumstances.  We ended up driving that Owl all the way to Mount Brydges just west of London Ontario but despite our best efforts & the efforts of the Wildlife staff, the young Owl died shortly after we got it there.  With a little bit of experience under our belts this time though, we felt we had a better idea of what to do & what not to do in the capture of this fellow. 


I walked over to the area where the Owl was sitting while Kelly placed a call to the SALTHAVEN WILD LIFE REHABILITATION & EDUCATION CENTER .  The Owl was soaking wet from the night's rain but in a relatively safe place under a couple trees where the Crows could not get at him.  Kelly brought my camera minutes later saying the folks at Salthaven wanted a photo of the Owl before deciding what to do with it.  Kelly & Rita had earlier seen the Owl hop & flap it's wings so that was a good sign.  Brian, at Salthaven says that what sometimes happens this time of year is that a baby Owl may be a late bloomer & is left in the nest by departing parents.  The young Owl has no way of being nourished & has not learned hunting skills yet.  It tries to leave the nest & ends up on the ground.



Kelly had to go to Deer Park so I checked on the Owl a few times over the next hour until I was able to get in touch with the Wildlife place again.  They said, after looking at the photos I sent, that because the very wet feathers had not shed off the rain, they felt there was probably more wrong with the Owl than what met the eye.   Said if I could catch it & bring it to Mount Brydges they would have a look at it though.  Mount Brydges is about 60 miles south of Bayfield.  Not wanting to leave the animal to just die I decided I would give it a try.  I also knew an Owl this size can do some very serious damage to a person with their sharp & powerful talons.  Put my leather motorcycle jacket on plus heavy leather gardening gloves.  I had already taken over a large plastic garbage can with a couple blankets.  The relentless yammering & harassment of Crows soon told me the Owl was still in the same place I had left him earlier.  But then, from across the pond, I saw it move out into the open.


The Crows immediately started attacking again.  The Owl tried to fly but could only get a couple feet off the ground for maybe 30 or 40 feet.  My heart sank because I didn't figure I had as good a chance to catch him now.  I approached to within about 20 feet but it fluttered into some tall grass beside a steep ravine.  As I approached closer it struggled into the air only to crash back down the steep ravine bank into heavy vegetation at the creek bottom.  The long grass & weeds were still very wet from the night's rain so the only way I could get down the slippery slope was on my backside.  Managed to get within about 7 or 8 feet of him.  He hissed at me & puffed himself up.  I had dragged the big garbage can down the bank with me as well.  Took a couple pictures with my Canon & then tried to throw the blanket over him. He easily ducked out because the long grass was in the way.  Tried again & he ducked out for a second time.   I was getting ready for a third blanket attempt when he struggled free of the weeds & through a series of hops, bounces, & flutters made it about 50 feet down the  creek into some very thick & impenetrable underbrush.  I knew at that point there was no more I could do for him.  There was no way I could crawl into that thick foliage with a creek running through it.  That was the last time I saw the little Great Horned Owl.



What a sad & defeated feeling it was knowing there was nothing more I could do to help this magnificently beautiful animal.  I had to tell myself it was for the best & it is Mother Nature's way of dealing with her own.  If the Owl was sick, as the Wildlife folks suggested, then that's the way it is & the way it had to be.   Walked home & brought the Jeep back to the edge of the Pine forest to pick up my stuff.  That was it.  My mission was over:((


The Owl incident took up the whole morning & I had to head for Goderich to pick up another Crestor prescription at the Walmart Pharmacy.  Loaded up the Pheebs & away we went.  While waiting for the prescription to be filled I walked over to the Supermarket & picked up a Chicken Salad sandwich to share with my little Princess.  In & out of Walmart again, gassed up the Jeep & 20 minutes later Pheebs & were on our way home.  Pheebe had missed her morning walk because of the Owl mission so her & I headed out on the trail for a quiet walk in the forest.  I couldn’t help but think about the little Owl as we ambled along the trail.  For some of us, it is always so hard to see any kind of animal in distress & suffering, but for today, I knew that was just the way it had to be this time………



A commenter recently asked why we don't take the Motorhome out for a few days of camping in the summer. Two reasons.....Kelly works most days at Deer Park & the days she has off she likes to relax at home, catch up on some reading & run a few errands. I understand & totally agree with that. Unlike the southwest, we have no BLM (Bureau of Land Management) here so there is no free land in our area for boondocking. Just about every square foot is taken up with farm land, towns, or privately owned property. And crowded noisy summer camp grounds & RV Parks are definitely not an option for us. I simply have to content myself with short 3 & 4 hour day trips here & there in the countryside.   Another commenter asked about bugs & mosquitos on our walking trail.  Up until a couple days ago when the humidity set in, we had been bug free.  Mosquitos, Black & Deer fly's will now be a determining factor on how far & how often we walk now until the Fall.  And, Mark over at BOX CANYON BLOG recently commented, "I too suffer from "Blogger's Block" on occasion... and for some reason it's worse in the evenings so I always write early mornings while sipping coffee".  A perfectly good solution, but for me, by the time the next morning rolls around I have sometimes forgot half of what happened the day before:((


GROANER'S CORNER:))  A few shorties....... Q: What do you call cattle with a sense of humor?  A: Laughing stock.

- Did you hear about the farmer you plowed his field with a steamroller?
He wanted to grow mashed potatoes!

- When I was a kid I used to pray every night for a new bike. Then I realized that the Lord doesn't work that way, so I stole a bike and asked him to forgive me.

- What does the dentist of the year get?  A little plaque

- Did you hear about the Buddhist who refused Novocain during a root canal?  His goal: transcend dental medication.

- Tourists see the world, travelers  experience it.
- Home is where your pet is:))
- The only thing better than right now will someday be the memories of right  now...AL.


  1. I know how you feel. I can't stand to see any animal in distress. Bothers me terribly. I know I can't rescue everyone of them but it still hurts when I have to give up on one of them because there is nothing more I can do.

  2. I'd say you did all you could possibly do. Good try!

  3. A sag event for you. But we would've done the same.

  4. Sounds like you made a valiant effort with that owl, unfortunately they all can't be saved. You can rest easy knowing you tried hard! Ticks and mosquitoes have emerged here also...I just pulled a tick from behind my knee that I must have picked up hiking yesterday morning. Guess I'll be sticking to the citified trails for the next couple of months.

  5. Too bad about the owl, at least you
    tried to help it.

  6. You did the best you could do. You went up and beyond where a lot people would just walk away. Thank god there are people like you.

  7. I sometimes do rescue work with a raptor rehab group in Utah. I can't tell you how many times I've transported a beautiful eagle, owl, or hawk to the rehabbers only to see it put down as being hopeless. (I always get called by one of them or the wildlife dept. to do transports.) They're very good at what they do, but it still really bothers me to see an animal suffer. But you're right, sometimes Nature's way is best. I did take a baby sparrow up there once, one I'd found, and they saved it (it's a 200 mile round trip). I've also fed wild birds that have fallen from the nest and saved them. I think you're inspiring my next blog here, Al. Good on ya for trying, mate.

  8. You put forth a valiant effort, sometimes nature is just not pretty.

  9. what a great effort to save the little owl..poor thing..mother nature can indeed be cruel..you had an owl in distress and we had a humpback whale that beached itself at White Rock Beach this morning..it died a few hours later..such a sad day for the animals on both sides of Canada.

  10. Great job Al...you did your best. Love the picture of Pheebe eating her lunch!

  11. Ahhh but perhaps his being in the thick underbrush will protect him from the crows, and give him some time to heal or even find a mouse or a number of bugs to sustain himself... till he gains strength?

    Ya just never know....

    Karen and Steve
    (Our Blog) RVing: Small House... BIG Backyard

  12. Very sad story about the owl but you did what you could. I always have a soft spot for the critters. Love that picture of Pheebs sharing your sandwich. What a pal!

  13. Life is hard in Mother Nature's world. I don't like to watch nature shows that show one animal killing another one. I know that's how it is but I hate watching it.

  14. Al, you have a grand heart. Bless you. Like Karen, I prefer to think that the glass is half full and the little owl received the time to dry out, find a bug or mouse or two, get better, and fly to safety. So if next year you see an owl giving h* ll to a couple crows. . . It maybe the little fellow getting his revenge. Lessie (TARDIS)

  15. You did what you could for that owl and as hard as it is I'm still reminded of the web of life. Someone else will survive a while longer.

    Nothing wrong with day trips.

  16. You did you best with the owl, not much more you could have done.
    And like you said no BLM land here,just the campgrounds.That can be busy and very expensive in the summer. We are lucky to be able to stay at the farm, and a few relatives places in between. The Campgrounds are not too busy in the spring and fall, our favourite times to be there.

  17. Wish there were more people out there like you... you did everything you could and that was far more than many would.. or could... do.

  18. I'm with you Al, can't stand to see any animal in distress.

  19. I would have done the same. But sometimes it is not meant to succeed. But you did your best.
    About blogging in the morning.
    Didn't you mention once that you carry a note pad in your pocket all the time? Why not jot down the ideas that come during the day and have it ready next time you sit down and have a writer's block.
    Works good for shopping ideas or honey do ideas as well. :))

  20. Sometimes we have to accept Mother Nature's way...survival of the fittest...She knows better than we do how that works...A valiant effort, though...but it is now out of human's hands...Who knows?.. maybe it will survive??

  21. Kudos to you, Al, for compassion and trying to make a save. You did everything you could. We are proud of you!

  22. Al, thank you so much for doing everything possible for Owl. I believe that young one's Spirit is soaring free and healthy now.