An Owl in Venice


When one thinks of Venice, one does not think of Owls. Yeah, we got pigeons, rats, seagulls, and even scorpions. But owls?

Late one morning as I came home from meeting friends for coffee, I walked off the vaporetto and across the grassy lawn of Sant’Elena toward my house. Something sitting in the grass caught my eye. I walked over to see what it was. There in the hot sun sat a baby gray (or brown) owl. Cute as hell.

I approached it to see what it would do. It looked at me with large yellow eyes, and opened its mouth as though to screech, or something, but made no noise.

I went home wondering what should be done. There are a couple of cats around here, and a lot of dogs. And the poor thing sat in the hot sun, apparently unable to fly.

I went out with a large plastic shopping bag from the local grocery store. When I first tried to get him in, he flew about ten feet.

I was encouraged by that, and thought about leaving him to his own devices, but a kindly old man thought that he was not able to fly well enough. So, we herded him into the bag, and I took him to my storage room where he would be safe, and in the shade.

After checking around, we decided that it would be best to release him into a tree after dark near where I found him.

When I went out to get him, he was not in the bag. After a search of the storage room, I found him perched on a metal frame we had against one wall several feet from where the bag was.

I coaxed him into the bag (surprised that he didn’t fly away), and took him outside. The closest to where I found him is very tall, and the nearest branch is about twenty feet off the ground. Recently, the city had planted a group of small pine trees to replace ones taken out by a tornado a couple of years ago. The wooden poles attached to the trees to hold them up was a perfect perch. Karen and I went to the one nearest where I found him, and released him onto the perch.

That night, I went out later to look for him, but couldn’t find him. The following night, we heard him calling. I went out, followed the sound, and found him sitting on a branch about thirty feet above the ground. We’ve heard him every night since.