Nature, by its own nature, is simultaneously simple and dizzyingly complex. It’s the craziest standing ovation, musical, mystery, drama box-office hit in the cosmos and, we’ve all got a front row seat if we just take the time to look at the stage.
Watching the sun dip behind an ocean horizon, shooting stars, aurora borealis, the mind blowing path of a hurricane or tornado, stumbling upon a mammoth tree in the forest, the birth of anything, hummingbirds in your backyard and taking your first (or twentieth) 30’ jump into a canyon river pool.
I’m talking about the moments that make you stop. Stop walking, stop talking, stop everything you’re doing and stop thinking to simply absorb the moment with awe.
A couple of weeks ago we were able to take part in an event not everyone has the opportunity to see in person. The release of two owls back into the wild! And it was awe…some!
The Ashy Faced Owl is a species indigenous only to the isle of Hispaniola (where we live) with a few possible sightings on Tortuga. These beautiful creatures are listed as “vulnerable” on the endangered species list and we thought this was an important environmental occasion. Just one Ashy Faced Owl can kill up to 1,000 rodents in one year so, helping their population thrive is critical to maintaining a poison free eco balance.
These two owls were taken from the nest as babies by impoverished locals hoping to cash in on the current “pet owl” fad. Crammed into a rusted cage that was patched together with wire snippets, they were thin, haggard and visibly sad.
Luckily they were brought to a friend of ours who happens to be a falconer. She ransomed the owlets from their captors to ensure their survival and raised them to fledgling status ensuring they could fly well and hunt. Finally, it was time to release them back where they belong.
From moving a 10’ x 10’ intact mews on the back of a small pickup truck with 5 guys riding shotgun up our rickety roads, to driving them safely crated to their release site 10 weeks later … we were part of the entire process!
And where were they released? A spectacular castle with 50 meadow acres, a river, tropical forest and towering palms in the hills of Los Brazos. An owl haven surrounded by organic farms with a very healthy mouse bounty!
It’s difficult to describe the feeling that came over all of us when the first owl emerged from the carrier and realized he was free. The second owl winging his way to freedom was no less emotionally charged. What I can tell you is that the rescue and release of these two owls is something we’ll never forget. Ever.
We’ve been in touch with the owners of the castle who tell us they hear the owlets every dusk and dawn and have caught the occasional glimpse of them in a giant Cieba tree near their home. A fairy tale ending to an adventure that took our breath away.