It all started about two weeks ago, right at the beginning of a normal work shift. Thorne the Owl headed out at dusk to find a mouse for breakfast. Suddenly there were bright lights and then a hard whack on the head! Thorne was squeezed between sheets of hard metal and couldn't move anything but one wing. A huge creature took hold of Thorne, pulling him from the cold, metal jaws that had trapped him. Thorne was confined over the next day to various cells and subjected to scary procedures.
Obviously it was an alien abduction.
Things started looking up on the second day after a noisy ride in a dark box and a very personal exam. Owl food appeared! While the food was not quite as fresh as he was accustomed to, Thorne appreciated the steady diet of two mice a day. Two days later there was even another screech owl nearby to chat with. Thorne tried to convince the other owl to help him hatch an escape plan, but some owls are more persuaded by free food than others.
The alien environment had some of life's basics. There was a branch to perch on and space to move around. Of course there was light to rest in and the dark of hunting time, but there was no need to hunt, as food was provided. After the first few days the noises that the large creatures made even sounded a little bit soothing. Thorne was a resolute owl, however, and never lost sight of his identity as a wild bird of prey.
After a week of good food Thorne started to feel better. The sensation that his head was stuffed with feathers went away, and Thorne the Owl felt that he'd be ready to make a break for it at the slightest opportunity.
That opportunity came one morning just as it was starting to get dark.
Thorne's captors moved him into a place so light that it looked like it was always rest time there. The other owl was there, too. Something was definitely up.
Thorne was sure that he was being held by the smartest of his captors, as this one was the smallest, AND had reddish head feathers just like Thorne.
Oh yes! This one knows just how to stroke head feathers back. Definitely smarter. M-m-m, that feels good.
Then they took Thorne and the other owl out of the strange, light place and into Home. There were trees and sky, and the air smelled good!! The dusky light was very reassuring. The forest looked so beautiful!
Sweet freedom! And just in time for the beginning of the hunting shift.
Thank you, Eliot! And Thank You Jen Cedarleaf for taking this video, for sharing it with us, and for all of the updates on Thorne's status!
Notes from Alaska Beachcomber...This fairy tale of Thorne's view is a lighthearted way to look at a serious matter. I felt helpless when my truck collided with this beautiful bird. I had a live, fairly alert, wild bird that wasn't acting like it should, and probably had a concussion at the least. Being able to send Thorne to the professionals at the Alaska Raptor Center for proper care was very reassuring!
May you delight in the comfort of familiar surroundings today!
More birds and animals: Alaskan Critters Index