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December 25, 2005

Great Horned Owl's little piddies

This baby hawk flew over my head on Saturday and perched very close to us for a few seconds.

I noticed this sort of fissure on it's beak. I'm still looking through old photos of known hawks to see it reveals anything.

Gray spent a lot of time looking out of his hole today. There was a wounded titmouse which engaged his attention in the dried leaves just below his roost. He made no attempt to hunt it, but he stared at it continuously.
The bird in its sporadic fluttering eventually found itself almost onto my boot. I reluctantly picked it up. I put a few drops of water into its mouth and it drank. Then it managed to crush some bits of raw peanut and a little red berry with its beak, but I believe it did not swallow any of it. I kept it covered for some time inside my soft hat hoping it would relax--it was all I could offer--her neck was badly broken. My guess is the resident Cooper's Hawk hit it.
I eventually took it higher up the hill and released it, but before I did I slipped my hand into my hat and allowed her to bite me as hard as she wanted. She grasped my finger with her tiny claws and her beak closed tight onto the skin between my thumb and index finger. I wanted her to inflict as much pain to me as her tiny body could deliver, wishing that she would have some small comfort in doing so.

It began to rain as I watched her other healthy friends busy themselves on the small feeders near the owl’s tree. I felt her tiny body with it little beating heart and its delicate muscles fluttering under my fingers. I scanned the park and the skyscrapers beyond it observing all their grandness.
Though a thick white blanket of clouds obliterated the sun and the rest of the Universe from my eyes, I still looked through to find it and to question why on the one hand it could create such massive, complex entities out there like the Milky Way and the wonders of The Earth, and at the same time turn its back on this humble little creature quivering under my helpless, useless fingers. How much would it set back such a mighty force to mend the poor creature’s neck and set it flying free once more?

I refused to be used as a tool in deciding the little bird’s fate and I so I set it down onto the Earth to force her to finish her own painful game.