Living on the creek, a variety of “visitors” surprise us on occasion. We’ve seen raccoon families, possum families hanging upside down from trees, a few long-tailed creatures tight-walking the telephone wires across the creek, bobcats on people’s roofs, multiple foxes, squirrel families born in birdhouses, etc. When our boys were very young, they had a yellow and orange “Little Tykes” picnic table out in our backyard. One morning following a very bad thunderstorm resulting in many broken tree limbs, I looked out the window and saw an unusual shape moving underneath the picnic table. I watched it for a while to see if it was staying in one place. Looking closer, I felt it was definitely some sort of bird; small, but with a significantly round body. When I got outside, the bird made no effort to escape. As I approached it, I discovered it was a screech owl. He was adorable, but one of his eyes was badly injured. I wondered if he had been hit in the head by the large pecan tree limb that had fallen nearby in the storm. Knowing very little about screech owls, I didn’t really know how to help him. I didn’t want to leave him on the ground too long due to the possibility of a predator harming him. I made a decision to call our local zoo and ask their advise. They told me to get him to walk into a box and bring him out to the zoo. How does one get a little screech owl to agree to walk into a box? Very carefully! I found a big stick and gently coaxed him into a box I had put onto its side in front of the owl. He acted like he didn’t really know what was happening. I was finally successful in getting him to slowly waddle inside the box, tipped it over quickly and put the box into my car. After delivering him to the zoo, I waited several hours before receiving a phone call from the zoo veterinarian. After several hours, the zoo called me and told me they had worked on the owl in surgery all night, but that they couldn’t save him. I was so sad about the sweet owl, but was somewhat comforted that at least we had attempted to save him.
Ever since that day, having had a close encounter with a little screech owl, I have always been fascinated by owls. My niece, Jannica had a screech owl living in an owl house in her backyard by the swimming pool. She named him Otis and he was just adorable. Now that the age of “Google It” has arrived, I enjoy searching for information about a variety of subjects. I started looking up information on attracting owls to your property and found the specs. for building a screech owl house. Knowing my younger son, Brett, loves to use his tools and build things, I e-mailed him today to see if he would build his mama a screech owl house. His response was quite positive, so I am hoping that someday we will have an owl house complete with owl family on our part of the creek.