National Geographic Backyard

Yesterday we rescued a great horned owl. The baby had fallen out of the nest and spent the afternoon on a branch halfway down the tree. We were hoping he might make it back up somehow, but it didn’t look promising. Jeff laid out a crash pad of row cover for him and we went back out before bed to see what had happened. The little ball of fluff was on the ground and clearly needed to come in, so we tucked him into a box with a soft fleece blanket. Not having any freshly caught rodents, I tried feeding him some marrow from a dog bone in the freezer, but he seemed more interested in sleeping. At 7 am, I called the California Foundation for Birds of Prey and dropped him off with them to hopefully raise until he can return to the wild.IMG_2123[1]IMG_2118[1]

I knew we had these owls on the nearby, but I feel much more appreciative and aware of them having seen this little one so close up. A larger sibling and parent are still up in the nest and I am keeping as close an eye on them as I can to hopefully see a bit more into their lives. They are spectacular animals to have living in the backyard.

There was also a third sibling who sadly did not survive. We found that one at the base of the tree a week ago. Had it been anywhere else, or if Jeff were less observant, this one would almost certainly have met the same fate.

One hope I have for this farm is that it will help me come to terms better with the cycle of life and the deaths that are an unavoidable part of nature. There is so much new, but also so much loss this spring. It’s an emotional roller coaster for me, and probably always will be.  I try to philosophize about the big picture and the beauty and wonder of it all when driving the tractor over small rodent habitat while hawks circle overhead.

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