I had an almost poetic follow up to my last blog post last night. I was driving back to the village on my motorbike. The night had just gotten completely dark and a fellow volunteer Laura and I were driving through a perpetual cloud of bugs that splattered into our faces. Without warning what looked like a piece of garbage fell from a tree in front of us. I didn't notice it until I felt it on my right hand that clutched the handle bar and it hit the front of the bike with a solid knock.
We were both baffled. We weren't sure what it was that hit the bike but thought it might have been a bird. I turned the bike around. I parked the bike so that the head light was shinning on the road where the thing lay. It was a beautiful owl. It wasn't too big. I'd guess the wing span would have been 2 or 2 1/2 feet. He was kind of looking around and moving his wings a little bit, but didn't make any attempt to fly. I remember thinking that he moved like a mechanical animal out of the first jurassic park movie.
We wrapped the owl in my jacket and Laura cradled him on the ride back to the village were we though someone would know what to do. He stopped moving on the ride home and I was 84% sure that I had now failed to save two birds in as many weeks. We brought him back to the village and showed him to our friend Ri Reh, who told us he was still alive. He found the owl's pulse in his armpit (or should I say wingpit?). I was once again blown away by the local people's knowledge of wildlife in the area. We still had hope!
We lay him down on a table under the window. My eyes were glued to him for the next two hours. He didn't move much in that time, but every once in a while he'd wake up look around and then pass out again. About three hours later he let out a couple of hoots and flew into the night.
Lifetime record for saving injured birds: 1 for 2. I'll take it