Monday, November 23, 2009

Strange Birds

Kalinska was a small Egyptian owl that fell on to a Russian cargo ship in the middle of the Suez Canal. How, no one knows. The sailors fed her and took care of her until they docked in Garrucha, the fishing village next to Mojácar. The sailors gave her to a Russian girl that lived in town. Kalinska lived in her room and ate chicken livers and hearts. The owl had no idea how to clean herself so was always covered in blood and sticky gore. The Russian girl would wash Kalinska with people shampoo after every meal and then dry her with a blow dryer. She got tired of this routine very soon. Knowing that we took in animals of all sorts, she brought it to us to care for. We had a lovely big aviary for her and every day we fed her by hand the liver and hearts that made up her diet. The butcher was so intrigued that he gave them to us for free. She still never learned to clean herself and all the washing and drying of her feathers had removed all the natural oils that she needed for flying and her health in general. What we thought was a fat healthy owl turned out to be a thin ugly filthy little thing. We didn’t wash her with the hopes that the natural oils would return and that she would learn to clean her own feathers. She never did learn to clean herself so she always looked rather mangy. She was very friendly and would eat out of your hand and we would wipe her feathers down from time to time. There was no way she could ever be returned to the wild and even if she could where would we let her go? So she stayed with us.
Another strange bird that arrived at our house arrived in the bra of a woman on horse-back. Her dogs had found it while she was out riding and it had a broken wing. She knew the only place she could take it to be cared for was to us. It was a hawk. We nursed her back to health and her wing healed. She flew a little more each day until one day she was ready to return to the wild. We kept food out for her for a while until she got the hang of living in the wild. She did very well and I hope went on to have a family. What I couldn’t understand was how that woman brought her all the way here in her bra because the hawk had one heck of a bite and a very sharp beak. The strangest thing about this story was our cat, Mouse, he was not a hunter and had never brought home his prey to show us, unlike Cookie who was a hunter and brought in everything from rabbits to snakes and rats. I don’t like it when cats kill just to play with the animal but Cookie ate every last bit so I figured it was nature at work. From the day we got the hawk, our cat Mouse took to bringing us a field mouse he had just caught. Apparently, for our guest to eat. This went on every day while we had the hawk until the day the hawk left and Mouse never hunted again. It was great for us because I hate feeding animals that eat other animals but I know it is nature’s way.

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