Thursday, February 11, 2010

Today is Wesley's Hatch Day!

February 10 is the date of Wesley's hatching. Valentine's Day is the day he went home wth me. When he was alive, I used to celebrate his "hatch day" by giving him a live mouse. He would cower away from the mouse as if it was the creature from the black lagune, but he would also be curious enough that finally he would pounce. his instincts were such that the mouse never felt a thing. But WESLEY! WOW! He would go from the cowering, frightened little baby to this macho, warrior, tough guy with his chest thrust out, his head high, and he'd literally strut around with the mouse in his beak crowing loudly with his victory cry, "Deek! Deek! deeek! DEEK! DEEK! DEEK! DEEK!". And I would suddenly be completely expendable - of no consequence - an annoyance almost. HE was the MAN. He'd strut behind the toilet w/ the mouse then crouch over it with his toes crossed over it on the ground, then open his wings and spread them along the ground while he crouched over the mouse. This meant, "Don't get too close. This is MY mouse and no one had better even THINK about approaching me or I'll ATTACK, cuz I'm a BIG, BAD, MEAN, TOUGH, MACHO OWL!

And this attitude would continue for about 3 days. He'd do this screech-hiss/scream - the HUNTER. He'd threaten me, lunging at me with a hiss and a click of his beak when I walked by, just to let me know that He was the MAN. He wasn't seriously threatening me. I could swoop my hand in and pick him up and snuggle hiim under my chin even as he was "threatening" me. I knew it was all bluster because he was just so proud of himself that he couldn't help the super-wild behavior. He would never dream of hurting me. But if I did snuggle him unde rmy chin when he was trying to be macho, he'd kick his feet and want down. So I'd let him down.

For those 3 or so days, I gave him his daily allottment of 3-4 mice and he mantled over them as if he had just killed them himself, too. Never mind that I gave them to him! He was such a card - such a bundle of personality!

For the rest of the year I fed him pre-killed mice that I took out of the freezer and defrosted in the microwave, because if I let him kill each one, he'd turn into this rowdy guy.

He and I had a lot of fun together on his hatch day, and every day. He was like a kitten with wings, so full of curiosity and life, celebration, expression, playfulness, affection...

There are times when I just need to be near a barn owl - just get my barn owl "fix". I need to sit near a barn owl nest and just hear them and feel their presence, or next to a barn owl enclosure at a wildlife rehab center. Their sounds, their body language, their smell, their faces, every feather, is absolutely precious to me. Better than a chest full of gold. Just watching them soothes my soul to the deepest level. Looking into their eyes soothes my soul. Man, I miss him.

What a miracle the hatching of one little barn owl turned out to be!

Stacey

7 comments:

Dyand said...

Happy birthday to the most amazing little owl! The story of your life was Wesley is just so beautiful. I literally could not put this book down! I laughed and I cried and I nodded in recognition. Thank you so much for sharing the story of Wesley with the rest of us - he will live on forever through your words. And he is now in all of our hearts as well.

mithu said...

Happy Birthday little cutie!! I love Wesley with all my heart and I just finished reading Alex & Me, a book about another amazing little bird whose abilities defied scientific convention.

I never thought birds to be devoid of intelligence and always knew that there was a deeper consciousness in them than they were given credit for, but after reading Wesley's story and then Alex's, I know that science cannot explain everything when it concerns animals; you have to let your forgotten instincts guide you because that's what they respond to.

I've seen this with my cats too. I have to peel back the persona that I show the world and be myself the way I'd be if I knew no one was looking with them, because they understand. But they're certainly not going to show me their layers if I don't peel mine back. They're tremendously intelligent and let me know that they understand my efforts to be more of myself by allowing me more of their trust.

It's too bad that most people don't understand what a privilege it is to gain the trust of an animal. To many people who live with animals, they feel as if they own them. You can't own a life. A life is not something to possess and that ought to be understood by these pet parents.

I know Wesley's spirit knows that he was, is, and always will be loved by everyone who has been touched by him and his story.

jbrown said...

Stacey..Again, thank you for sharing such amazing details, regarding Wesley..I shall never forget your story of Wesley.It touched my heart greatly, & I'm so glad that you can continue to write about Wesley..You are an amazing writer..I am so looking forward to your next book..Blessings of Love to you & your special animals in your life..Jan

Lori said...

I'm just discovering this site now as I have just finished reading the book today. Happy belated b-day, Wesley!

Thank you from the bottom of my heart, Stacey for writing this book. I have a very similar relationship with my 22 year old cherry-headed conure, so this really hit home.

I will continue to follow all of your work. I'm really a huge fan and am glad to see you keeping everyone up to date.

Hope all is well.

Deborah P. said...

A Happy Birthday to Wesley. I just found this book on 2/18/10. Couldn't put it down...and I don't 'read books'! What a wonderful and heartfelt rendering of this little owls story. I was moved to tears, more than once! Just lost my favorite pet ("Koodles" the sweetest Ragdoll cat that ever was) on 1/12/10. This was (too soon) a great reminder of the absolute trust, unconditional love and devotion that God's little creatures bring to our lives. I ran back to 2 stores today and bought all the copies left {seven in all} of this wonderful book by Stacey. I can't wait to share this touching story with some of my closest and treasured friends. Everyone who reads the account of his life falls in love with Wesley. Thank you Stacey - for bringing him to the pages of your book for all of us to love and enjoy!!!

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Teresa said...

I absolutely loved Wesley, and am about to read the book for a second time. I've recently been watching Molly, the barn owl on ustream.tv, who is patiently (along with thousands of others) waiting on her eggs to hatch. The owner of the nestbox has a camera with sound wired into it and it is great to hear her chirping to her eggs and calling for her mate to bring her food in the evenings.
I told my husband last night that I now have a small idea of what type of bird you actually had living in your room! He must have been adorable, but I can see how he could be bossy, too. If you want to watch Molly, and hear those owl sounds you miss, the website is www.ustream.tv/theowlbox
Teresa Willis