We've moved from Baltimore, Maryland USA to Venice, Italy in pursuit of living our dream!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Hemingway in Venice

Yesterday one of my Facebook friends made the comment "There's never a dull moment in the Henderson household!".  Yesterday she was so right!

Sitting along the canal while enjoying a lovely lunch at Gam Gam restaurant in the Jewish Ghetto with friends from Baltimore who were visiting us in Venice, our friend Mike turned to me and said " Hey, you just got an owl!"  Huh??? He handed me his phone to show me a photo. My husband Mike had just posted a photo on Facebook explaining  he had rescued a  baby bird . Sure enough, it was a baby owl.  My husband then sent me a message telling me I had to go buy some beef baby food and a syringe so I could feed the owl. Before our conversation was over, I had already given our baby owl a name, Hemingway. Looks like I was in for a fun afternoon!

In the meantime, we'd heard from another friend who was kind enough to check out some local sources for what to do with the bird. She was able to identifiy it- it's a baby Assiolo owl. And it didn't need to be fed, but it did need to be put back up in a tree or low branches  that evening so it's parents could find it.

My husband put the bird in our downstairs magazzino (storage room) to be  in a safe place. After bidding our friends goodbye, I rushed home to check on Hemingway.

 This is what I found - one very frightened little owl!  But what cutie. One look at him and I knew I wanted to keep him. How could you not? Just look at that little face?  He was totally petrified, so I just whispered to him that he would be ok, he was safe, and we'd do our best to get him reunited with his parents later on when it got dark.

Mike took a photo of Hemingway out where he found him, in the middle of a big open grassy area just in front of our apartment. It's in a place where lots of cats and dogs were, we were sure Hemingway would have been in one of their mouths if he was left on the ground. It was also blazing hot. Mike couldn't have left the bird there. He did the only thing he could think of, he scooped him up into a container and took him to safety.

Mike and I joked about Hemingway, our new family member, during dinner and while we waited for the sun to go down. We wondered what kind of owl he'd grow up to be, made plans for his future, all the things new parents typically do! As soon as the sun went set, Mike went down to the magazzino to get Hemingway so we could try to get him out into a tree.

Shortly after, my phone rang. Mike was on the phone telling me to run down so I could see where Hemingway was.  The little bugger could fly!  He wasn't in the plastic container anymore, he had flown up and landed on a metal bed frame we have stored along a wall in the magazzino. There he was , perched up above my head on this metal frame, just looking down at me.  He's no bigger than my hand, but looks exactly like a big owl, in minature.

We got him scooped up into the plastic container and took him back out to the park area in front of our apartment. The trees that he had fallen from earlier that day have limbs about 30 feet off the ground, there was no way we could climb up there. Fortunately, for us, and for Hemingway, there are several young pine trees recently planted in that area. We were able to let him loose on one of the closest of these smaller pines to where Mike found him.  We said our goodbyes, wished him a safe and happy life, and went inside.

A few hours later, Mike went back out with a flashlight to see if Hemingway was ok out there. Hemingway was not where we left him. He was no where in sight. Hopefully he had reunited with his parents. We already missed him, the little bugger!

We wondered about him all day today. Every time I passed through the park area, I checked out both the ground and the surrounding low trees. No sight of Hemingway.

We had another storm rolling in tonight. Of course, we worried about the owl.  Just as it was starting to get dark, I heard some loud screeches coming from the trees. Mike took a flashlight and went out searching. We immediately thought Hemingway might be in trouble out there.

Guess who was making all that noise tonight?  Yup, our boy Hemingway! Mike followed the sounds of the screeching, which was moving around, so clearly Hemingway was flying from tree to tree. He actually found Hemingway, perched about 20 feet up on a branch. The tiny guy is ok.

He'll probably  keep us up all night with his screeching, too. I imagined that his mother, if he's been reunited with her, has been giving him what's for for being out later than 8 pm last night.  That's our boy!


Thursa said...

What a lovely story!

karen said...

Thanks, Thursa! Little Hemingway has been screeching every night up in the trees in front of our apartment, so we at least know he is alive still. That was our goal, to keep him out of the mouths of cats and dogs in the area. Mike actually went out with a flashlight and found him up on a limb about 20 feet off the ground. We know he can fly a little bit! Another fun day at Ca'Hendersoni!

Anonymous said...

Amazing! How lucky you are to have such an adventure.

Dianne said...

That is so sweet, saving a critter. I volunteer at a local bird/animal sanctuary and there is also a wildlife rehab center at another sanctuary nearby. You were given the absolute best news not to feed Hemingway -- people food can harm wild animals -- usually water is the only thing that should be given if you are lucky enough to have a wildlife refuge nearby. I guess if the poor little guy had been in distress you could have also taken him to a veterinarian hospital. But alls well that ends well and you have a resident owl to bring you joy at night.