Owl Finds Comfort in Penguin Companion: In a heartwarming tale, an owl devastated by the loss of its mate discovers an unexpected source of solace: a stuffed penguin toy.
This barn owl, discovered by the roadside in Australia, was found next to its lifeless partner, a casualty of a tragic traffic accident. While physically unharmed, the owl’s demeanor revealed a deep sorrow, as Karen Ledger, a wildlife rescuer and the Port Macquarie bird coordinator for Fostering and Assistance for Wildlife Needing Aid (FAWNA), explained to ABC Australia.
Due to their lifelong monogamy, the owl’s desolation was palpable. “There was physically nothing wrong with him, but because they mate for life he was very depressed,” Ledger stated. Determined to help, she sought a solution to alleviate the owl’s anguish.
Inspiration struck when Ledger introduced a cuddly penguin toy, roughly the same size as the owl, as a companion. Placed beside him in the cage, the unconventional friendship began to work its magic as the owl gradually emerged from its gloom.
“After a couple of days, he started brightening up and opening his eyes,” Ledger recounted. “He came back to the point that he was well enough to be released.”
This heartwarming incident represents just one of the many innovative approaches Ledger has employed over the years in caring for the avian creatures rescued by FAWNA. “You have to think outside the square, just look at what you’ve got and adapt,” she emphasized.
Another remarkable challenge involved a white-faced heron affectionately nicknamed Herriot, who had lost the ability to walk. Ledger pondered how to restore mobility to the long-legged bird, which seemed reluctant to use its legs.
Resourcefulness came to the rescue as Ledger fashioned a makeshift sling using her husband’s underwear and a pair of stockings. With the heron comfortably suspended, she encouraged him to exercise his legs three or four times a day until he regained independent mobility.
In time, Herriot triumphed over adversity, regaining the ability to walk unassisted, and was eventually released several weeks later. Ledger fondly reminisces, “Every once in a while, I see him fly over our house…or on a big pond not far from me. It’s very nice to see him still surviving out there on his own.”
Ledger urges individuals who encounter injured birds to seek assistance from wildlife shelters rather than attempting to care for them at home. “Please don’t hang on to them. You are doing more damage to the animal than you realize, and please don’t try and feed them,” she implores.
She stresses the potential dangers of improper feeding, explaining that even a seemingly simple act like syringing water can lead to fatal consequences. “If you don’t do that correctly, it will go into their lungs and they can drown and will die.”
Let this heartwarming tale remind us of the power of compassion and the extraordinary lengths we can go to provide solace and aid to our fellow creatures.