So. I am taking up the saga since noon yesterday, Sunday. I left you with the hanging upside down photo above. It is hard to explain simply. Even with photos, even with time stamped photos. It is incredibly hard to keep up with the shenanigans of the wee ones, let alone have time to tell the story. BTW happy St Pats Day!!! I met my husband, Scott, at Dunleavy’s Pub, Sullivans Island. That is where we normally spend St P’s day but I digress.
On Sunday, yesterday, at around noon, all was quiet in the owl neighborhood. Then MiniMe was mobbed by crows, blue jays and mocking birds. MM was in the very tree tops, on small twigs of branches. Fluttering, flapping, frantic. Big Sib was not around to protect, ward off, whatever. (See earlier posts).
I went out to the garden with camera to capture the mobbing and what I expected to be the fall from grace. And then.
At first, I thought MiniMe was just hanging on, afraid to let loose. Holding on for all get out with one talon, flapping and trying to right itself. I am shouting at my Mom, on the porch, to get Scott and Dad, something is not right with this picture.
This goes on for about 10 minutes. Now I am SURE this is not going to resolve itself. I run around to the front of the house, shouting for Scott. He and my Dad have just left for a walk around our neighborhood, unsuspecting of the drama taking place. I am shouting as loud as I can. There is no way I can fix this without their help. How long can an owlet hang upside down, with one talon snagged?
Scott and Dad come running to my shouting. This owlet has now been hanging upside down for over 15 minutes. It is grim. Clearly, human intervention is called for and necessary. But how? The branches it is stuck in are very small, wobbly. That is how it got into this dilemma.
Again, lucky for us, and especially MiniMe, my husband is a super ladder man. He is a professional painter and has ladders of all sizes. Scott susses out the critical situation and sets up a 30 foot ladder on a four inch diameter branch and tells me it is safe…for me to climb up …and what?
You have got to be kidding me. This is all we have? The best we can do? So my Dad and Scott decide they need a blanket to use for a trampoline…to catch me? No. To catch the owlet! Which has wings!
I strip off my sweater and marsh boots (again, see earlier post), grab some pruning shears and climb up. I trust my husband. Really trust my husband.
I get to the top. I am face to face with a Great Horned Owlet with a current wing span of at least three feet. We are beak to nose within inches. I am terrified. The owlet is beyond terrified. I can’t reach. I am trembling. My husband says I have to go up one more step. To reach past the owlet and cut the vine that is wrapped around its talon.
I wrap one one arm around the top rung of the ladder and the four inch branch, take the pruning shears out of my back pocket, tell myself that whatever happens, DO NOT FLINCH. I reach across the dangling owlet and snip the vine.
I am shaking so bad that I do not realize right away that the owlet
does not land in the blanket. The expression on its face matches my own at this point. (I am told by my parents, my human parents).
And it climbs back up the tree to the very tip top in the leafy twig branches. I am pretty much spent. Heart stopping, adrenaline rush crash. Sit on the back porch steps and well, …cry.
But it is still not over. It’s never over with these owlets. The next thing is that a parent owl flies in with a headless rat (yep, see earlier posts). Where to land for delivery? Well, apparently, in owl logic, the next big branch over from the recovered owlet. Me? I am drinking a glass of wine on the back porch trying to recover myself.
The owlet is screeching and squawking trying to get to the dinner offering. And, …well, …falls back to earth.
The sago palm breaks its fall along with a valiant effort of wing flapping. I am pretty much undone by this point. Or done. Just done.