October 10, 2006


My truck had been away some days, being repaired.

As I drove home, a small owl flew over the truck from behind, and down into the light of the headlights, leading me the last quarter mile to my driveway.

He landed on the edge of the driveway. I stopped, turned off the headlights and waited a minute for it to recover its vision and get out of my way.

Instead, it hopped up an down twice, as if saying yes, this is the place; this is where you belong.

When he did not move away, I turned on the lights and slowly crept the truck forward, squeezing between him and some brush. He stood his ground, looking at the truck as it rolled by.

Some years back, Paul Harvey reported how an owl helped some hikers lost on a mountain ledge trail, spending hours fluttering ahead, leading them to safety.

I'd read an interesting book on birds by Theodore Xenophon Barber, "The human Nature of Birds". The books said each has it's own personality. This is true. When my father use to feed Chickadees by hand, as did I on occasion, we could see that each one had it's own personality. They would line up on a branch, waiting a while for their friends if one or two were late, and tap at the window if we were late. Each would perch on our fingertips, looking us in the eye before taking the seeds from our palm. Some would always hop back on our fingertips to eat the seed, others would always fly back to the branch to eat. As the years went by, when one of them died, the others would be very muted for a few days.

Did the owl identify the truck as having been missing, and sought to help it find it's home in the dark? Did it understand that the lights on the truck mean I can't see well in the dark, and thus could use help? I suspect so.

Maybe we humans are not the only ones who like to help make things right.

It was a warm and touching moment.


Copyright (C) 2006, JVV