Hoo are you?

Ξ September 28th, 2006 | → 9 Comments | ∇ Animal Stories, Costa Rica, Humor, Life in Costa Rica, Maria Luisa |

A couple of nights ago, Piro started to go crazy in the back yard. This in itself is not so strange as she is a nutty animal under the best of circumstances and can always find something to go crazy about, but this was about 1 AM on a nasty, cold and rainy night and that bore some checking out. ML went to the window and announced that “something big” was in the back yard. I figured she was talking about the pool. Those of you who have spend any time on this blog know that my dear wifey is prone to…emmm… exagerate things. I decided the bed was a better option.

So off she goes, mas o menos sin ropa, to the patio where she can get a better looksy. Next thing I hear is a scream to “come quick” and in her best Ricky Ricardo Spanish (way to fast for me to understand), that “there is something big and alive in the back yard”. Clearly, this was not the pool!

So off I dash (anybody still use the word dash?) to see what this is about. Well there WAS something out there in the rain and cold and it was 1. NOT happy with the dog’s attention and 2. Crawling toward a tree in the corner of the property.Owl

Piro had found an owl (buho) who was evidently hurt or very sick.

ML ran for the camera while I tried to find a thick towel so I could capture it. I needed the towel because something clicked in my memory that owls have strong beeks, nasty claws and an unwillingness to be captured even by those humans with good intentions. Thank you Discovery Channel or Animal Channel!
ML and I got back to the yard just in time to see our owl make it to the piña bush. For those of you who know not a piña bush, they are a nasty little tree that has a ton of sticky things and when touched, can make you a very unhappy camper indeed.

The rain was coming harder, but we had little choice but to wait until morning and try to find it again.

One thing though… it appeared to be a baby and that made sleep all the more difficult.

At 5:30 next morning we were in the back yard. ML was convinced our baby owl had fled, but I was less sure as for the brief time I saw it, it appeared to have a broken wing, and our back yard is surrounded by a ten foot concrete wall that would not be negotiable without the ability to fly.

Sure enough, our owl was perched in a low tree, wet and not looking at all happy. I reached in and dropped a bath towel around her (him?), avinding the beek and claws. It seemed though that the owl was far more interested in being wrapped in a warm towel than fighting the big gringo. It did have a broken wing though, so I am sure that effected its flight or fight reaction.

We decided the best place to take a wounded bird was Zoo Ave.

Zoo Ave is an incredible zoo here in Costa Rica, but something very few tourists ever visit. The times I have been there, it was almost all Costa Rican visitors. This is a shame as Zoo Ave is a marvelous place covering 59 hectares of beautifully landscaped grounds. It is also a wildlife rescue center for injured wildlife.

It sports a HUGE bird collection (the largest in Central America) including numerous toucans, cranes, curassows, parrots, more than 100 other Costa Rican bird species. quetzal_male.jpgZoo Ave is one of only two zoos in the world to display the amazing and resplendent quetzals. (See photo left. Click it to enlarge). There are also crocodile, deer, turtles, ostrich, tapirs, peccaries, pumas, and all the indigenous monkeys in large enclosures. Anyway… Back to the bird!

I had to wait a few hours for the zoo to open, so I decided to keep our little friend in the towel inside a laundry hamper in our closet where it would be dark, quiet and catless. However, when I later went to get her, she was GONE! This, of course, was impossible as it is a small walk-in closet. After 5 minutes of searching, I found her nestled in my shoe! Well I told you she was small! (that and I have big feet).

So I head out to Zoo Ave and meet up with Ingrid who looks exactly like someone sent over from Hollywood casting when a “zoo worker” was required). Our little owl was still all wrapped up in the towel, but undaunted, Ingrid just picks her up bare handed and the bird seemed delighted to just sit on her palm. It seems our owl was very sick indeed and thus not prone to biting. She also told me our little owl was not a baby, but a full grown adult! Ingrid told be they get hundreds of owls and other wild creature brought to the zoo every year.

I signed her over to the zoo which seemed odd, but Ingrid explained that after this little owl is all better (which she assured me was very likely), the bird will be reurned to our yard! Seems they always try to return any injured animal to the placed where it was found.

We are going to wait a while and call Ingrid to get an update. Cool story huh? More later!


9 Responses to ' Hoo are you? '

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  1. Martee & Troy said,

    on October 3rd, 2006 at 12:22 pm

    Hello Tim & ML; We have been looking at your website and find it extremely interesting and very informative. Troy & I have decided to make Costa Rica our vacation destination in February 07. Although we’ve been together for 4 years this will be our first trip together!!! With the vast amount of knowledge that you have, we were wondering if you could give us some pointers with regards to accommodations, restaurants etc. We’ve decided that an All-Inclusive (air, hotel & food) is not for us as we like to experiment other cultures and like the “ma & pa” type restaurants……

    We would greatly appreciate any information that you could provide us.
    Thank you so much!!!
    Troy & Martee (North Bay, Ontario – Canada)

  2. Tim said,

    on October 19th, 2006 at 7:57 am

    As an update… we were sad to learn that the wing was damaged beyond repair and thus our little owl will not be returning to our neighborhood.

    The GOOD news is that she has a new home at Zoo Ave where she will be safe, fed well, and taken care of by people who love animals.

  3. Ana said,

    on October 21st, 2006 at 8:19 pm

    I loved the story about the owl. I once found an injured woodpecker in our backyard. I wish I could attach the picture of this birdie in the box where we took care of him and fed him papaya from our tree. By the way, talking about birds, I love birdwatching and everywhere I go I keep my eyes wide open for birds to try to identify them. We live in Guanacaste, a very touristy area and with all this development you now find in tonws in lowlands birds that you would only find in mountains like that woodpecker. I don´t understand why but I was amazed when I read about it.
    One of my favorite birds is the motmot, a smaller and easy to see bird related to the quetzal a from the trogon family.

  4. Jason said,

    on January 8th, 2007 at 7:38 am

    Hi Tim!

    Thanks for your blog. I found it while searching about Costa Rica (I’m thinking about returning for good). One thing deters me, however… I’m wondering if I’ll will again have to deal with ICE. Hated, really HATED, that crappy telecom company, and I MUST have a reliable, fast internet connection.

    Can you tell me what the current situation is in Costa Rica and/or if there are other Latin American countries that have a more attractive, better quality telecom/internet situation?

    Thanks, and great story about the owl!
    (ever been to Grecia de Alajuela?)


  5. Tim said,

    on January 8th, 2007 at 12:15 pm


    Nothing has changed, and any country will have better quality telecom/internet situation.

  6. lena said,

    on April 21st, 2007 at 11:42 am

    dear tim,
    i am a little girl(10) and i just happened to come across this story and i thought it was an awesome and exciting story actually many doves hummingbirds parrots and one eagle has bumped into our glass door and have been injured! but we take care of them until they are ready for flight! anyway thanks for the awesome story!

  7. woody 2 said,

    on September 24th, 2007 at 7:09 pm

    We have an injured woodpecker in our home; he was found in the backyard the other day and seems to have difficulty with its leg. We have been feeding him water and also worms; today is the first day that he is actually moving around. Can this be a house pet? If so, what food will it eat on a regular basis (other than worms)? Cheers,

  8. Bill said,

    on March 19th, 2008 at 1:42 pm

    Hi Tim. My wife and I live just east of Toronto, Canada…ice, snow 5 months of the year. We are approaching early retirement age and have seriously (well actually I have seriously) considered living in Costa Rica. I was there on a vacation (pre-marriage) and fell in love with the place. That being said, vacationing and living full-time are obviously quite different. Aside from not speaking Spanish..what, in your opinion, are the major factors about life in CR that we should take into consideration before making such a move? Any input would be appreciated. P.S. Great blog!

    Thanks, Bill.

  9. Tim said,

    on March 20th, 2008 at 10:21 am

    Take a look at http://www.therealcostarica.com and its companion blog, http://blog.therealcostarica.com

    There you find exactly what you are looking for.

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