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Monday, February 02, 2009

The owl we found on our photo shoot.

My parents came to visit us, so we took them on a photo shoot with us. We turned west when we left the driveway, as these photo shoots are not usually very well planned, we go where the wind takes us after we leave our house.

As the day progressed, we ended up west of Choteau, Montana, on a dirt road, heading for Pishkin Reservoir. I was visiting with my folks, and not paying very good attention to my photography, when Robert stopped the car and began backing up. I put my window down, and got the camera ready, when he stopped the car again, we were next to this owl, who was caught on the barb of a wire fence.

When we first saw him, his head was turned the other way, and we were so saddened to think he was dead, caught in the wire, and starved and frozen to death. We were just ready to go closer to see for certain, when I saw the owl turn his head, his beautiful eye flashed life to me, and I said, "He's still alive!"

Robert grabbed his leather gloves, and Carhart coat and we went to see if we could extricate the owl. The poor little guy was so grateful to be helped, he never once tried to bite Robert's hands. It was the strangest thing, I've about ever seen, how he got caught up in the wire like he did. His wing was not broken, but his soft under feathers had twisted round the barb, to a point he could not get loose. We think possibly a gust of wind threw him into the fence somehow.

After we got him loose, we held him still for a bit, with his wing down by his side. You can see here, he's not a large owl. Because it's daylight, his pupils are huge.
We determined he could move his wing. His grip on Robert's fingers was very strong. He looked healthy and hopefully, like he hadn't spent a terribly long time hanging there.

We had to decide what to do with him, and based upon his condition, we decided to set him down on the ground and see how he did. He seemed so grateful to be free, a bit in shock, and probably stiff and sore from his experience, but he also seemed he would be fine on his own again. I thought he would rather be in his own environment than anywhere else in the world, so we left him there recovering from his ordeal.

Robert and I are always telling people about our photo adventures. This time we were able to share the adventure with my parents! I'm 57 years old myself, so that's a wonderful thing-to still enjoy the company of your parents on a day like this turned out to be.
Donna Ridgway
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