In a curious incident, an owl came to visit a man who had saved it from certain death. Interestingly, the bird reached the house of its saviour Jawahir in Thrissur accompanied by its parents.
A pair of spotted owlets had built a nest on a dead coconut tree in a paddy field in front of Jawahir's house. One morning, the tree broke in heavy rain and the nest collapsed to the ground. Jawahir learnt about incident in the afternoon and rushed to the spot.
There, he saw some crows attacking two tiny owlets which were probably only a few days old. The baby owls were thoroughly exhausted in the severe heat and were barely alive. Within 10 minutes, one owlet died and Jawahir carried the other bird home.
Jawahir took the bird under his care and literally became its parent over the next few weeks. From Google, he learnt everything he could about the species and realized that it came under Schedule 4 of Indian Wildlife Protection Act 1972.
"The tiny owl had a voracious appetite and loved to sleep after a good meal just like human babies," says Jawahir.
Moreover, the owlet loved petting, adds Jawahir. Initially, the little bird slept on its back or breast. But some days later, when it had grown a little more, the owl began sleeping while standing. It also slept while standing on one leg.
Jawahir shares the feeding habits of the bird: "Meat, fish, cockroaches, hoppers, lizards and frogs were its favourites. The owl avoided boiled food and preferred fresh items."
Another interesting feature of owls that surprised Jawahir was that they did not drink water. "During the two-and-a-half months the owl stayed with me, it did not take even a sip of water," says Jawahir.
Every two days, Jawahir gave a bath to the owl under the tap. But the toughest task was keeping the nest clean. Jawahir prepared the nest by filling an earthen curry pan with coconut husk. However, as it would become dirty within a couple of days and attracted ants, Jawahir kept two nests.
Spotted owlets start hunting for their food only after attaining an age of one-and-a-half months. Jawahir trained the bird for this task too by letting it free for some time after underfeeding.
When he was convinced that the young owl would fly and find its own food, Jawahir released the bird to freedom on April 19. Later, on May 10, Jawahir was surprised to see the bird that he had saved along with its parents on a tree near his house and shot a video.