Saturday, November 9, 2013

Heartwarming Owl Story...and Ultrarunning


Image credit here.

Some of my regular reads are a few blogs that loosely could be categorized as feminist blogs, to include Echidne of the Snakes.  Miss Echidne picked up a cool story from Finland about an owl and a kayaker:

Pentti Taskinen, a 61-year-old experienced kayaker, was out on Tuusula lake and saw something splashing in the water, through a thick mist. When he got closer, he found that it was an owl, swimming, exhausted, near death. Owls are not water fowl. How that owl got into the water is a mystery. Some bird watchers think it got lost in the fog, others suggest crows which sometimes chase owls away as a group.

The animal had initially tried to swim away, but apparently soon realized that the kayak which appeared from nowhere might be its last chance. Water reached in all directions half a kilometer and its temperature was six degrees Celsius.

The owl started struggling towards Taskinen's kayak and tried to get into it, but was unable to do so on its own.

"What was fine was when I got it into the kayak and took a couple of pictures. It then crawled near me and put its head inside my life vest."

And there it remained. According to the Taskinen the owl was otherwise calm, but shook nervelessly. He suspects that the bird would not have survived much longer in the water.
Taskinen sought the nearest inhabited shore, the owl was given heat, shelter and food, and it flew away the following morning.

And that, my friends, is your feel-good story of the day.

I may have told here my favorite personal owl story, but here goes.  I was running on the C+O Canal, along the Potomac River a few miles upstream of Williamsport, MD (the finish line of November's JFK 50 Miler).  I needed to pee, so I just stopped at a convenient tree just off the edge of the towpath.

While in the middle of going, all of a sudden I hear a commotion directly above me--it was a pair of owls hurriedly leaving the tree I was peeing on.  Of all the trees in the forest, I pick the one with a pair of owls in it!  And they were big, and majestic: I am not sure of the species, but it definitely was one of the larger species in our neck of the woods.

I felt at that moment that the gods of nature had indeed smiled upon me to grant me that experience.  Had I picked any other tree, I would have run past these owls, oblivious to their presence, as they quietly looked down on the passing runner.


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