On this Thankful Thursday, I’m grateful for the animal rehab specialist, animal services officer, and veterinary hospital that specializes in raptors–all of whom, in turn, tucked this Great Horned Owl under their compassionate wings.
Our neighbor discovered this magnificent creature at the threshold of his garage, bleeding slightly from a wound we couldn’t see. Why did it swoop down from the neighboring hillside and land on his asphalt driveway? I circled it slowly, giving it wide berth while using my zoom lens to assess his physical condition.
See the thatched feathers under its sleepy eyes? They look like ice crystals, don’t you think?
Although its wings weren’t injured, the owl didn’t even try to fly. It just swiveled its head from side, watching us with sleepy eyes as we called for help.
The animal services officer swaddled it in a blanket, carefully avoiding its dangerous talons as he crated it for the short ride to the vet.
Turns out, the Birds of Prey Center doesn’t give out specific information on their patients, but they referred me to this statement on their website, by way of reassurance: “Our intake birds are initially examined by a veterinarian and an individual course of treatment is prescribed (may include x-rays, surgery, and/or other medical therapy). Releasable birds are then kept in flight cages, where they can regain the necessary skills and strength to return to the wild.”
I received that as a very hopeful message. Even if the circumstances weren’t ideal, I felt privileged for the time I got to spend with this great horned owl, and for the rare opportunity to see its exquisite features up close. In its precarious state, it somehow sensed that it could entrusted us with its care. In turn, we honored its vulnerability and did what we could to ease its suffering. It’s in the best possible hands, now, in a facility that’s dedicated to its rehabilitation and release.