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The search for the injured owl

December 8, 2008

by Jenni Sebora

It was about 9:30 p.m. on a weekday evening, and our doorbell rang. We live in a rural area and I was the only one awake, and as you might imagine I was hesitant to answer the door.

I woke my husband from his sleep and we both proceeded to the door. We looked outside where we found an unfamiliar parked car in our driveway and three people walking on our property toward my older brother’s house, which is part of the family farm.

My husband called out for the identity of what seemed to be trespassers. They immediately responded, stating first that the Carver County sheriff’s department was here. Well, that obviously brings initial feelings of concern. But within the next few seconds, a woman said that she was from the Raptor Center.

“There is an injured Great Horned Owl on your neighbor’s silo. We are trying to capture it.”

And it happens to be a sheriff’s department officer who lives down the road from us, who had spotted this owl in the middle of the road, which was atypical behavior for an owl.

The raptor specialist indicated that the owl’s behavior showed signs of a concussion. The role of the raptor center specialists was to capture the owl and return it to health.

It was close to ten o’clock in the evening, and my older brother and I sat on his front porch with our pajamas and robes on watching the Raptor Center personnel try and track down the owl.

They were walking around the pond and all over the property in search of the bird, but to no avail, the owl was now “missing in action.”

These Raptor Center specialists have a true passion for what they do, and the woman and her husband who helped her certainly showed it. They shared with us some stories about animals that they had aided to recovery.

The head of this mission was a woman who was a senior. Along with her husband, she shared a passion of aiding these raptors back to health.

Although they were not able to complete their owl mission that evening, they told us that they would be right back “on the trail” very early in the morning. They believed that the owl could not have gone far and was most likely tuckered out from its “run.”

Sometimes it’s those unplanned, surprise events that can bring the most pleasure and wisdom to us – even if it is ten o’clock in the evening with pajamas on a chilly fall evening.

On an unexpected evening, I learned more about owls and their tendencies and habits; the Raptor Center, and the passion of two people. What a way to live your life, with a true conviction in what you are doing and the conviction that it matters.

When I finally went to bed that evening, it made me think about my own children and their futures. My desire for them is that they, too, do work that they are passionate about so that it is not just “work” but that it is a way of living, a career – a passion.

Maybe someday one of my own children will be running around the countryside in search of injured owls to nurse back to health or maybe they will have the true desire about some other type of mission that they truly will never “retire” from because it is a love for them.

I am unsure if the owl was ever found, but I do know that there were two people that truly cared about that bird and what happened to it. If the bird could have known that it probably would have stopped “running.”

Thank goodness for the Raptor Center and people like that man and woman who made a stop at my house.