A blog long overdue here...
Back in December I had been thinking about our old friend Big Frank. It was the 2 year anniversary since I last saw him. I had every intention on sort of reliving our last outing the week of the anniversary, if not the exact day. And with that, I also had every intention on seeing the last bird we saw together too... a Northern Saw-whet Owl. Through the early part of the winter, I had some luck in seeing 4 Saw-whets, and one had shown up in the area where Frank and I had seen one. Hell, it was even being seen in the same freakin' tree!
So, it was looking pretty good to do this with ease but of course life got in the way, busy with this and that, work, bad weather, loafing on the internet one morning and whatever other excuses I can muster up a couple months later. I was being very bad with the putting things off even though it was pressing in my brain to get out there and do this. Notice I used the word "intention" a couple times? Yep, good intentions aren't all that good if you don't act on them. I am making it sound worse than what it is because the actual day was a Wednesday so it was only Monday and Tuesday that I was messing around.
Little secret about me, I can be a bit of a procrastinator at times. Shhhhhh...
Anyways, true story here.
With my loafing and whatever those first couple days of the week, Wednesday December 17th is now here and I really want to leave the house and go seek out a little Saw-whet Owl. It's never a guarantee with wild animals on whether they will be presenting themselves or not, but it was worth a try, and even if I didn't find one, it would be nice to relive some of the morning Frank and I had out. I still laugh at his statement on the bird that day... "what a fucking little sweetheart!" I have his voice saying it in my head anytime I think of that. And of course I put a few Lamb of God cds in the truck as Frank states "that shit is gonna rot your brain".
I had been in semi-regular contact with Toronto Wildlife lately about a Red-tailed Hawk I picked up some weeks earlier. I am always curious on the animals I bring in to the centre. This Hawk was healing well and there was a potential release coming up soon.
So, this morning, I am on the phone with them once again about the bird and at the end of our conversation, I was asked if I would be interested in transporting 4 Northern Saw-whet Owls to the Owl Foundation. As some know, I am a volunteer driver both with Toronto Wildlife and The Owl Foundation. They were going to put a "shout out" to the list of volunteers but since they had me on the phone, they thought why not ask me and maybe save keying out an email and waiting for a reply? It would be for the next day. How could I say "no"?
It was later in the morning now, later than I had liked, I still needed to shower and get ready for work. I probably could have made a quick sweep of an area before work to look for a Saw-whet but didn't. I kinda took this as a sign from Frank, like "Here ya go Rob! Thanks for thinking of me."
And with that, the next morning I was up and at it bright and early, picked up the little Owls and headed to The Owl Foundation in Vineland. It's just over an hour drive one way. The radio is kept off but I don't mind. I take in the sights around me as I roll down the highway. It gives me time to think. My imagination flows on things like doing this blog. The memories of my friendship with Frank come back. And I am excited to be visiting The Owl Foundation once again, full of high hopes that all these Owls are going to come out fine in the end.
Truck full of Owls
I arrive at TOF. We get all the Owls in the house and then Kathy invited me in for a coffee and some Christmas treats (week before the big day). "Hells to the yes!" for the invite. Annick and Stacey were in the office with her, all having lunch. It was cool to sit back and shoot the shit with them since we rarely see them throughout the year, or for very long. The annual open house has them all running ragged. And most of the drives for the Owls, have had us drop the birds off and leave moments later.
We had some good chat, story telling and not just about Owls.
Lunch ended and I was about to leave when it was suggested that I could watch Annick and Stacey do their initial observations of the Saw-whets if I was interested. "Heck ya!" I recon 3 years of volunteer driving is probably why I was able to experience this, add our annual sponsoring too (just saying).
I met up with them downstairs and watched them go over each bird, checking the eyes, weight, fat content, etc. It was great! I always forget how small those birds are until I see them in hand. Of course I didn't have my camera with me. Damn! I tried a few cell phone photos but nothing came out worth sharing. Oh well, the pictures in my mind from this memory are way better anyway.
It was mentioned a few times about Angie not being here. Will she be envious? Will she kill me? Maybe force me to sleep on the couch for a week? LoL! It was all good fun. Everyone knows she's very passionate about this stuff but also a full supporter when it's just me doing the drives. She's there in spirit.
We had some further discussions about 2015 and how Angie and I can help in other ways. It's not easy for us with the distance and the fact her and I work opposite shifts. We need our quality time too. But time will tell and I'm sure one of us will be blogging about it when/if it happens.
Unfortunately Kay was unavailable but I was happy to see her best buddy Big Bird on the way out.
It was a great run for both Toronto Wildlife and The Owl Foundation. Call me crazy but I believe Frank had some part of this. Thanks Frank!
An update on the littel Owls... 3 are still at The Owl Foundation. Sadly one passed away.