Herding Owl with a Broom
Life on the family ranch is certainly never dull. Early this morning Paul saw something walking down the driveway. On closer inspection it turned out to be a fledgling Great Horned Owl.
By the time I got there, it had walked down the side of the house and sat there for awhile. Paul tried to go out the front door and get it to walk on down the driveway hoping to get it into the shelter of some trees. Nope, he snapped and popped his beak at him and wouldn't move. We carried on with getting Paul ready for work. I went out to look again and it was gone and I didn't see it though I'd have sworn I heard it popping its beak as I went out the door. Then in a bit Paul found it where it had crossed the back porch and crawled under his toolbox (which was about 3 feet from my bare ankles when I went out earlier and why I heard it pop its beak!).
The morning proceeded with wondering how to deal with this owl. I didn't want our dog Clancy getting it and the owl getting some good tears in on Clancy with that beak and its talons. We did chores by Clancy going in and out the front door and avoiding the owl. It was still there and I knew something needed to be done. So I got the push broom and poked it out from under the toolbox. It went across the porch rather reluctantly and then across the back yard. Wish I could have gotten some pictures of that because it was fluffed up with its wings out. It stopped and turned to me many times as I swept it along. It tried to fly a few times, but didn't get more than a couple feet off the ground in a couple of hops. Then I discovered it would grab the broom bristles and I messed around with it hanging on the broom and lost it several times. Finally got it kind of secured on there in an awkward way and headed for the tangle of trees nearby.
After a few attempts, I kind of got it in the trees, but it wouldn't turn loose of the broom. So I left it hanging there for a bit to see what would happen.
When I came back in about ten minutes, it was upright and loose from the broom.
And mama is watching from another tree not too far away.
The fledgling can't fly so I don't know how this will turn out. I just know it's better in the tree than right on the ground outside my door with my dog and other family dogs nearby.
I had to be gone for a couple of hours and when I came back there was no sign of the owlet. No sign of mama either. I will always wonder how she rescued it. So I'm just going to believe I helped to save it.
2nd Day Update:
Paul spotted the owlet further into the tangle this morning and higher up. Since it can't fly, not sure how it got there but it's still around. Then this evening I went looking and not only was baby sitting there, but mama owl was sitting right beside it, so I KNOW she is still caring for it!
Several days after the last update I traveled out of town and left Paul with instructions for updates and to keep an eye out. He continued for about a week to see the young owl and mama in the tangle of trees. The young owl moved from place to place in the tangle. Then one morning, they were gone. But that evening they were both back in the same tangle. Baby owl had flown. The next day they were gone and we haven't seen them since though in the dark we hear owls hooting off and on. We are choosing to think it all worked out and we were able to help save this young owl.