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Wildlife....so precious..!!!

23rd July 2014
Hello Everyone..

It’s been a very sad morning for me today. Most of you know me by now; you know how passionate I am about animals/birds, wildlife in general and what they mean to me..!! They are a part of my life; it’s something that is buried deep into my soul that will never be removed. I’m an emotional person, sensitive and always full of compassion for animals, being these things is what has made me who I am and without it I couldn't connect with wildlife or portray them the way I do...!!! My heart rules my head at the best of times.. As an animal lover foremost and a wildlife photographer we often see things at times that we’d rather we hadn't and today unfortunately was one of those days.

This morning my partner Brian left for work as normal, then not five minutes later I hear his car return and he rushes back in with a ball of fluff in his hands. It was a Little Owl chick, an Owlet, not far off from fledging by the looks of things.. Now, before anyone shouts out, whoa it should of been left where it was, Yes, we are both well aware of that and for the majority of the time we do, especially with birds, we leave well alone where necessary ..!! This Owlet was at the edge of the road flapping like crazy, unable to fly and had a broken leg.. The choices were to leave well alone and possibly for it to get run over or picked up by a predator, or pick it up with a cloth and leave it somewhere safe and hope its parents will come down and feed it..!! Neither of these solutions were acceptable on this occasion, both scenarios were going to leave the Owlet in danger and it was clearly suffering.. Little Owls are declining, we need to preserve and look after these wonderful birds, there was no way it was going to survive out there and especially with an injury.

I gently held the Owlet in my hands, it didn't flinch, it was quite alert, he looked up at me with those big yellow eyes and that was it, connection was made, I had to do something to help this little guy.

I popped him into my small carrier and got onto the phone to my Boss Michael; I explained everything and asked him to contact John Naylor who lives in the village where I work. He’s a naturalist, Falconer and Wildlife Artist, basically an all-round good guy and knowledge and judgement I trust. I was hoping this Little Owlet’s injury’s would be minor and John could nurse him back to health and we could release him in the area we found him..
I got in the car with him whilst all the time thinking he’s going to be okay..!!! (However naive, there is always hope) I drove carefully to work and when I arrived Michael was there waiting for me. He had been trying to get hold of John since I had called but no answer, so he jumped in my car and we took the Little Owlet up to John’s house. No one at home, but then as were going back to the car John pulled up and we walked solemnly over to him. John took the Owlet out of the carrier and he turned him over to look at his legs, my worst fears were confirmed, both legs were broken. John turned to me and said, “Sorry there’s nothing we can do”. Well, with that the floodgates opened and I just sobbed, I had failed.. (That’s what it felt like)

I left the Owlet in John’s hands and we left, he was saddened as much as I but he knew it was for the best. Michael and I got back in the car and I drove back to work with eyes full of tears.. Michael told me, it was a very brave thing what I had just done, (I didn't feel very brave) most people would have left it there and it would have suffered, he said…

How do I feel, I can’t begin to explain, I feel gutted that I couldn't save it, my heart feels heavy full of sadness. I held something so precious and fragile in my hands, a life that was just starting and I couldn't save it...!! I feel angry, angry at myself and at the world, I just feel a sense of loss and I’m mourning that loss. A beautiful little creature that has blessed this earth for such a short while..

However hard it may have been for me, I feel as though I did the right thing. I could of left it there and let nature take its course, let it suffer, prolong its agony.. Or just have walked away and kid myself that its parents found it and it flew off and it lived happily ever after... That wasn't going to happen however much I would love to think that way.. What I have to do is make something good come out of all this...
Owls, especially Barn Owls and Little Owls hold a very special place in my heart (Andy Rouse bless him, introduced me to Fotobuzz members as the Owl chick lol, I kinda liked that), they are precious things, there is just something very special about them, something spiritual, magical. Yet both of these Owls have suffered over the years, both have declined in numbers and that is not good. These beautiful Owls deserve and need to be in our Countryside.. The day I don’t see a Wild Barn Owl fly freely over the fields and our hedgerows and I don’t see the wonderful unique Little Owls that give me so much pleasure just to watch, with their funny little walks, will not only be a very sad day indeed but a devastating day for our countryside

What do I do now? Well, firstly I've done one thing, I've written about it, it helps at times like these to put my feelings onto paper as it were, it’s part of the healing process.. and writing about it will bring awareness to people that these Little Owls need our protection and help (more of that in a minute) Secondly, I know the area of the Little Owls, I will continue to research/observe them (always with respect and from a distance as they are my priority) and try to find out more about them and to catalogue/photograph when/if I can. I know Little Owls can have at least 2 to 4 chicks so I’m hoping the others are all well and safe, I will certainly be monitoring the situation. I can also stay in touch with the Hawk and Owl trust that monitor numbers etc.

To find out more about Little Owl Conservation and research here are some links to help you get more of an insight to their plight.. Andy Rouse has photographed and studied Little Owls extensively over the last few years and has teamed up with Emily Joachim of Reading University to aid her in her research.

http://www.andyrouse.co.uk/index.php?page_id=28
http://www.andyrouse.co.uk/index.php?page_id=65
http://www.discoverwildlife.com/blog/little-owl-video-blog

Nature I know can be cruel at times and for me it’s upsetting but I also know it’s just the way it is at times, doesn't mean it’s any easier for me or anyone else. I saw this quote on Facebook today and just summed me up and the day completely.

“I still get very high and very low in life, daily. But I've finally accepted the fact that sensitive is how I was made, that I don’t have to hide it and I don’t have to fix it. I’m not broken. “

I will also add to this what I said earlier, I am emotional and sensitive, that is who I am and I WILL NOT apologise for it either…!!!! Thank you for reading this blog, I will keep you updated with my findings.
Please feel free to comment and leave your thoughts if you wish.. But any rude comments will be deleted.. thank you

Marie x

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