Chaos the Owl

March 23, 2012

By Kristian Fletcher

On Feb 20, Adam Richards was at Kid Bay site, near Klemtu, and spotted a Great Horned Owl struggling in the waters nearby. Adam was quick to react, grabbing a dip net to place him on the corner of the float house to dry out and regain his composure.

The owl hung out on the deck of the house for a while when Ralph Pressner noticed a couple of ravens getting rough with him, so Adam and Ralph put the owl into a box with a towel, food and water and placed him inside to dry out. He stayed there quietly for the night, and in the morning we put him back on the deck to see if he was able to fly. He took a leap, tried to fly and fell into the water about 2 metres away. Adam quickly dipped him out of the water again and put him on the corner of the float house to dry off.

Once he was fairly dry we put him back inside the house, in his box. At this point Adam had told his young daughter about the owl and she named him “Chaos”. 

We let Chaos dry out in the box again for the day. When we all came in for lunch we found he had chewed his way out of the box and was sitting quite comfortably on the dining room table. We left the nearby exits open to see if he would try and take off. By the end of the work day he was still sitting there. So, we put him in a Rubbermaid tote with large holes cut in it, water and food and figured he’d be better off in that. Well, to our surprise, the next morning he was sitting on top of the tote! Not only was he on top of the tote, but the heavy jug of Fast Orange we had placed on the lid was still there! Very strange – perhaps he should have been renamed Houdini?

The next afternoon we encouraged him to take off again. This time he made it about 5 metres, but again landed in the water. This time he managed to make it to the nearby beach. We could see by the time he got to the beach there were a couple of crows and ravens bugging him again, and an eagle in the tree above watching every move he made. So, yet again Adam went over to the beach to help him, maneuvering the boat while grabbing for the dip net. Now, here’s the kicker – he placed the dip net beside Chaos and our owly friend took a look at the ravens, looked at Adam, back at the ravens and took one step forward and stood on the edge of the dip net!

Adam returned to the float house, placed the dip net on the corner of the house and Chaos just stepped off and stood there. It was obvious to us that Chaos quickly weighed his options at the beach and figured he was much better off being spoiled by us. We put him back in his tote for the night with more food and water.

We had contacted the Mountainaire Avian Rescue Society (MARS) in Courtenay for advice and they suggested we send him down to their place so they could check him out. We agreed, but said we were just going to give him one last chance to make it home, before shipping him 500 kms away. MARS was very friendly and supportive and really did care about Chaos and his situation.

The next morning we gave Chaos one last chance and put him outside on top of a shelf and left him be for one hour. After we came out to check him out he just looked back at us, tilted his head and jumped off the shelf and took off in perfect flight. When he got to the beach he landed in a tree, and again, to our amazement there was his mate waiting in the tree for him. We hadn’t noticed the other owl until this point, but we all agreed it was pretty awesome to see that Chaos’ mate waited for four days for him to recover. It is one of the coolest things that any of us have witnessed. Chaos was very easy going and not aggressive so we think he always knew we were just trying to help him out.