May 31, 2011

Oh, What A Night...

I'd planned to share my next small quilt project with you today, but instead, I have a short tale to share.

Last night, I went to Panera's and met up with the girls for our regular knit/crochet night. Everyone had a good time and we all parted company around 8:30. I headed home on my usual route, which takes me past a large, wild area.

I always drive the speed limit, even if law enforcement didn't regularly set up speed traps there, but also because you never know what you'll see on or next to the road in that area. We've seen large, wild hogs with litters of piglets tearing up the easement, armadillos snouting in the grass for grubs, or an occasional raccoon foraging next to the fence line. The most disturbing event is always the seasonal toad migration from one, soggy side of the road to the other soggy side of the road. Love is a powerful motivator, and once I realize I'm axle-deep on a road, slick with frogs, I avoid the area like the plague until I know the "frog season" is over.

I know. I got a little sidetracked here. Sorry. So, as I drove home from Panera's, a bird swooped down onto the roadway right. in. front. of. me. I swerved left. Bird flared right. My right bumper caught his left side. I just kept repeating, "Oh, no! Oh, no!"

I turned around and my headlights shone on a beautiful barred owl hopping on the road, with an obviously broken left wing. (Thankfully, the bird was alert, so the wing was the only damage.) As I drove back toward the owl, it hopped into the grass. I kept it in my headlights and turned on my flashers. After quickly grabbing one of Kes' dog quilts from the back of my Explorer, I slowly and calmly walked toward the owl. It didn't take long for me to cover the owl with the quilt and scoop it into my arms. Then, I drove home as quickly as I could.

Handsome and Kes met me at the door and I asked him to call the police station to see if they had a warden or animal control person that could come out and take the owl to the wildlife rehab facility in Venice, FL. A policeman was dispatched to "our location", and he made a number of calls to see what should be done with the bird.
Before the officer arrived, we had taken one of those plastic milk crates and carefully placed it over the owl as I unfurled the quilt. I was concerned the the bird would be too warm wrapped in the quilt - and it took nearly an hour for the officer to get to our house. (Injured owls are not a priority.) We kept the quilt under the crate, anticipating an eventual transfer to another crate or enclosure.

Handsome and the policeman commented on what a large bird it was, and were surprised that I had managed to handle it without getting pecked or scratched. ("I am woman, hear me roar!" Really, I was just darn careful - and lucky.)

After multiple calls between the office, dispatch and animal facilities, it turned out that the only place the owl could go to at 10:30 at night was the emergency clinic in Sarasota (20 miles away) where Handsome and I had been last month with Fezzik. I told Handsome that I would make the drive and we agreed he'd stay home with geriatric Kes.

The emergency clinic was alerted by the officer that I was on my way, so they were ready when I arrived. I pulled the quilt up around the crate, secured it with a bungee and carefully carried the injured owl into the clinic. They took the crate to the holding area, put the owl into a kennel and allowed me to take its picture before they covered the door with a towel to keep the owl calm.

Wildlife rehab people will be at the clinic this morning to take the owl back to their facility. There they'll repair its wing and allow it to heal before taking it back to the area where it was injured. I'm so sorry owl. I hope you heal quickly and completely so that you can go back home.

I never expected yesterday to take the path it did. What a night! I'm still finding it hard to believe that I actually held that magnificent bird in my arms. It's an experience I won't soon forget. I'll be back tomorrow to show you what I'm working on next.

PS. When I got back home, I found one, fluffy feather that the owl had left behind for me. A reminder of my close encounter with one of God's beautiful and majestic creations. That's the feather in my first photograph today.

24 friends clicked here to leave a note for me:

Sunny Simple Life said...

Oh my you did have an adventure.

Lululiz said...

What an amazing, wonderful, humbling and of course scary experience. Owls are magnificent creatures and I am so glad it wasn't hurt too badly. You handled the situation incredibly well.

Carol at Serendipity said...

Wow! And Brave!

Carol

Sharon said...

What an amazing story, Donna! I can't believe you were able to pick up the owl.

Mandy said...

Well done for handling the situation so well. It is so good to hear that the owl is in good and hands and should make a full recovery.
How nice to have one small memento of the whole event - one small downy feather.

Chocolates4Breakfast (TerriBoog) said...

What an awesome story! That owl is so fortunate you found it and how wonderful that it left you a small feather as a reminder of your good deed.

Madame Samm said...

Wow! your life has got to be the most amazing one I know...OWL and all...x

Diane H said...

Bless you for seeing that he was taken care of.

Michelle May (Shell) said...

And yet again another reason I love ya bunches! My hero!!!
What an amazing night that was and what a gorgeous owl.
xx, shell

Tina Eudora said...

Oh how scary to be alone on that road and trying to avoid hitting the owl! But what an amazing experience you had holding him/her, to be that close to such a magnificent creature!
The picture is great and yo have that wonderful feather to remember the experience by!
Wow!
Tina xo

Sherri said...

Donna, what an amazing story! What an adventure. I'm very sorry for the owl hitting your car. I love Barred Owls they are so gorgeous! I agree with Tina you have that wonderful feather to remember the owl by!

Jan M said...

Thank you for taking such care of one of God's little creatures. What an amazing night and tale!

Createology said...

Miss Donna you are so filled with human kindness that is how and why you were able to stay calm and help that huge beautiful owl. That is one adventure you could never possibly predict. I am thankful you are alright and the owl will be just fine. Kes must have thought what in the world kind of pet is this I have to share mom and dad with! May you have a day of rest and calm and creativity...

Dawn said...

Thank you for caring for him. God Bless.

Claudia said...

Donna, I know your heart must have been in your throat when you realized you clipped that owl, but thank goodness it was someone like you who took compassionate action. Bless you for saving that owl.

xo
Claudia

Quiltin' Sandy said...

God bless you for caring about that beautiful creature. I have always loved owls. I used to collect them- china, pottery, soft toys, even a wallhanging but ran out of room. There is an owl that sometimes comes at night and sits on our clothesline- unusual as we live in an inner suburb. i managed to get close to him one night and gently spoke to him, and was so thrilled that he did not become frightened and leave. :)

Twyla and Lindsey said...

You are remarkable! Twyla

Rettabug said...

Hail Donna....great white protector of the wounded!! ;-) What you did was remarkable & I doubt that I would have been so brave. He could have gouged your eyes out with his talons! Yikes!

I remember there was a Bird Man up in Sarasota, with a sanctuary near the Mote Marina. Nice that your vet's place would care for it overnight.

Sorry to have been lack in commenting. My wrist is hurting so I'm trying to limit my computer time.

Hugs,
Rett

p.s. Sure wish I could have been there at Panera's with you!!!!!

Minimiss said...

Isn't he a beauty!! So glad he wasn't more badly injured and that he will be helped to make a full recovery. You're a star.

Faerie Moon Creations said...

Not everyone would do what you did...you are wonderful. :) Now you have a special gift as a reminder of how you helped this beautiful bird. :)

T.@WhatWeKeep said...

Hi Donna,

You are one brave lady! The heart just takes over when you see an animal in pain. Or a bird that could have caused you serious harm!
So glad you are the one who was on the road that night...someone less caring would have simply driven away.
I love your feather...he thanks you from afar.

Carrie P. said...

I am so glad you decided to stop and help the owl. We have called the wildlife rehab people in our area one time when we found a baby rabbit out of its nest. We assume the parent had died somehow.

Stephanie ~ Angelic Accents said...

Truly an amazing adventure, Donna. I don't think I'd have been "woman enough" to pick that owl up, but I'm so glad you did!

Big TX Hugs,
Stephanie
Angelic Accents

Chris said...

Donna, you did a great job! I am so glad that you are ok and the owl will be too!

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