Not left for dead.

ST835495This is me – about to release a tawny owl that I’d hit with my car earlier tonight – 5th. September 2015 – unfortunately, I just couldn’t avoid it. Tom didn’t even see it – as it happened so fast – but was caused to ‘jump out of his skin’ as I let out an involuntary screech in unison with the tyres at the moment of impact. The owl was ‘sitting’ in the road on the brow of a hill – and all I remember seeing is its two huge, round eyes caught in my headlights before it disappeared under my car bonnet. I tried to stop – and skidded hard – then I heard ‘clunk’ – I had killed an owl.  A smell of hot, burning rubber came up through the vents in the car from the tyres – meanwhile Heart’s ‘Club Classics’ had instantly become irritating – I switched the radio off.   I was devastated; all my life I have been mad about owls – (long before my love affair with ravens began) – and now I had killed one. It wasn’t safe either to stop  – as I had just gone over the brow of the hill.  I turned around as quick as was possible and went back for the owl – I had to know that it was dead – and not suffering – and to remove its body from the main road. It was lying on the exact spot where I had hit it – completely lifeless as expected.  Luckily no other cars had followed behind otherwise – the owl would have been struck again and most likely flattened.  I quickly scooped up the weightless mangle of feathers – whose wings looked contorted and broken – what had I done? Tom shifted into the back seat – and I placed the floppy owl on a green refuse sack – to protect the seat. It was too dark to see whether it was bleeding but there was nothing visible on my hands – and I had remarked that I thought I’d felt a flicker of life but it was probably just nerves twitching?  

About a mile from home – I heard a rustle from the plastic sack beside me – I could see out the corner of my left eye that the owl was miraculously sitting up!!! I exclaimed – “IT’S ALIVE – THE OWL’S ALIVE!” – and Tom laughed in excited anticipation of it flapping around my car while we were still on the move!  By the time we got home and I’d parked-up in the garage – the owl had revived enough to hop around my car – and flap and extend its wings and seemingly turn its head 360 degrees!!! Miraculously nothing appeared broken – and there was no blood either. I don’t know how it survived – other than it must have been simply knocked-out on the undercarriage of my car – and crucially there were no cars behind to ‘finish it off’. Maybe – I had almost stopped at the time of impact but that bit is blurred – I just remember its huge eyes – skidding – and that dull thud…

I ‘let it be’ for a short while to recoup – left relatively safe inside my car while we unpacked our shopping – and fetched some gloves!ST835485

It was such a euphoric feeling to finally hold the tawny owl in my gauntleted hands and feel it writhe – no longer floppy and lifeless but feisty and wild. With no hands free – Tom took a couple snapshots and then it was time to let go…

Together, we watched it silently swoop off into the darkness of our neighbour’s sheltered garden – away from the street-lights and road – just as another tawny owl hooted from a nearby tree. I’m so thankful that I instinctively did the right thing and went back for it…and even more overjoyed – that along with a few ‘lucky’ white streaks that I’ll clean up tomorrow – I found one precious ‘calling card’ dropped on the front seat of my car.

ST835488

All's well that ends well. Tu-whoo! Tu-whit! tu-whoo - and good night from me!

Tu-whoo! Tu-whit! Tu-whoo! – and good night from me!

 

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