Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Forever free

A call from a RAPTOR rehabber yielded bad news for me today.

Rufus, our beloved red screech owl, was found dead in his mew. It is unclear what caused this, but we have had Rufus since 2005 (he was an adult when he was brought in, so at least a year old), and even if he lived to be 4, that's a respectable life for a screech owl.

I had myself a little cry in his memory, and so many things came to mind....

He was the all-time favorite of the 3 to 5-year old set (because he didn't scream, and he was a non-scary size).

A school that I present to every year loves him so much, they put him on the front page of their website.

His little legs were sensitive to the chemical tanners in our jess leather, so he got "special" jesses.

He would never raise his ear tufts during programs, so I would gently and slowly lift them with my pinky finger.

His yearly Ugly-Molt was something to look forward to.

He was the very first bird of prey I ever held on my hand. And I was scared out of my mind...I kept thinking, "Oh, my God...I'm holding an OWL."

Getting attached to our education birds is different from bonding with a pet.
We don't (and can't) cuddle them, scratch their heads...but I still love my birds fiercely, and there is a very, very large void when they are gone.

Please....let there be a Heaven for Screech Owls.



Lynne said...

I'm sorry Susan. I know you love your birds.

Natural Moments said...

Sorry to hear about Rufus. But like your title says, he's flying free somewhere special.

dAwN said...

Oh that brought tears to my eyes...sorry for the loss of rufus....

Anonymous said...

Aww--what a sweetie bird (is that correct to say?)
Anyway--sniff--sorry. I hate loss of life, especially when unexpected and maybe a tad premature.

Jayne said...

So sorry for your loss Susan.

Anonymous said...

We couldn't even hold him like you did, but I think a lot of us bonded with this owl. I'll miss the molting pics.

Wayne, PA

NCmountainwoman said...

Moving tribute to this fine bird, now rid of special jesses and flying free.

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Oh I'm sorry, Susan... I'm SURE there is a heaven for all of the critters.. Just think though... He is FREE now!!!! And that is good.

bruss1510 said...

Wow - that video made me cry. Sorry for your loss - I know you loved him. I know he is flying free -


NatureWoman said...

Wah! I am so sad for this little bewd. It's NOT fair.

MicheleRF said...

He was very lucky to have you and the other dedicated people at the rehab ctr. You served him, and those who enjoyed him and learned from him, well.

dguzman said...

Your last line made me cry a little bit.

Vickie said...

I'm so sorry to hear about your owl. I loved reading your first experience with holding him. A wonderful gift you gave each other.

LauraHinNJ said...

I'm sorry Rufus is gone... he seemed like such a sweet charismatic soul.

Mary said...

I am so sorry I am so late.

Forever Free.

You made me cry, Susan.

I'm sorry,