The Good Earth really IS a little piece of paradise as I often say in describing what makes it special. We are blessed with a display of natural beauty in our flora and fauna (and yes, I include my personal menagerie among that fauna!).
We are particularly blessed with a very active birdlife. For three seasons of the year I feed the songbirds, ensuring that even in the dead of winter there is colour and life (and HOPE!) on the landscape. My greatest joy is the comforting hooting of the owls at night who for so many years have nested in the large willows around the pond.
Earlier this spring, a young owlet on a maiden flight miscalculated its flight path and knocked into my mother’s garden fence and toppled into the garden. It just so happened that we were enjoying one of our first BBQs with Karen our resident “paparazza”! Our little owlet tried valiantly to get airborne as the mother with her vast wings swooped around in distress. Not knowing what to do, other than not interfere with nature, we opened all the garden gates trusting in Mother Nature to solve the dilemma. Thankfully, Karen was able to get some fabulous shots of our little winged visitor for posterity. We immediately named him Oswald. The next day when I returned to the scene of the drama, Oswald was nowhere to be found and I assumed that all was well…
Now for Act 2 – A few days later, Scott Stewart was mowing the orchard and came across little Oswald in the tall grass, exhausted and in distress, having been hounded by the wretched crows (they HATE owls!). Not knowing what to do, a call was put out to The Owl Foundation in Vineland. Faster than any human Emergency Response Team, the owl rescue experts arrived and picked up Oswald and whisked him away to the “Mayo Clinic” of owls! We all heaved a sigh of relief that Oswald was in good hands.
Now Act 3 – A call was received last week that brought exciting news. Well, it turned out that Oswald was well…Oswaldina, a beautiful Great Horned Owl. She was too young to fend for herself when rescued so she was fostered by “Big Red” a foster Great Horned Owl mother. Over the summer she looked after and nurtured Oswaldina as her own. Now all Oswaldina’s adult feathers were in and her flight abilities were sound (the crash into the garden a distant memory…) and it was time for her to be set free.
Final Act – Yesterday at 18:30 sharp we met Dan Rezner in the parking lot of Angels Gate Winery. Safely tucked in an animal carrier was our Oswaldina, prepared to set off on her own. It was determined that setting her free into a dense expanse of bush on the Escarpment was the best for her. Dan briefed us on what to expect – he would face the carrier and the owl toward the bush and when he opened the carrier it would be a quick second and she would be gone. Once again, Karen was with us with her camera trained as well as our “Chickwithtongs” (Isa diIorio) to record this momentous occasion. Dan opened the carrier and for a brief but magical few moments Oswaldina hesitated and looked directly at us. And then…as we all choked back emotions of absolute wonder, she took flight and soared into the evening sky! Free as a bird to find her destiny. Perhaps she’ll find a good looking mate and come back to the pond to raise a family of her own. I selfishly hope so!!
Check out The Owl Foundation – a marvellous group of people and organization. Such dedication deserves to be supported. TGE will be hopping on the bandwagon with a heartfelt donation in gratitude for helping our Oswaldina. “All’s well that ends well”!