Chapter 2 - "It" Gets a Name
After work every day, we carried the
big basket, and our little feathered friend out into the woods behind our home.
There, on five acres of natural, wooded land bordering a tidal marsh, sits a
large wooden deck. This deck is overhung with giant water oaks, dripped in moss,
and ancient cedars.
At the end of the sizeable deck, a walkway leads to an old houseboat tied off to
surrounding wooden pilings. This is where we would take the baby bird and perch
it on a long, low-hanging branch over the deck. At first, the little bird didn't
grasp the branch very well and ended up hanging upside down, like a bat, until
we set it back upright. The brancher hadn't mastered the art of tree sitting
Soon, it developed a vise-like grip
on the perch and quickly gained its balance. Once on this natural perch, free
and out in the open, the silly bird would dance from side to side, and do that
funny, circular, inquisitive head movement.
"It" loved being outdoors, and became very alert, watching and responding to
everything around. No fear. Only curiosity. Dancing shadows, insects, lizards,
and other birds fascinated the nestling.
After a few warm summer hours of
freedom, we would put the big basket up to the limb, and the baby would hop in
of its own accord. This became a daily ritual. After play time, came feeding
time, followed by nap time.
The little bird was carried inside
the houseboat, where I would pay a CD, "Loon Lake". The music was very calming
for the baby, and after being fed "it" would fall asleep to the sound of loon
calls and burbling water. This became a favorite pattern for the bird and I. Not
really sure who enjoyed it more.
Steve considered playing music for a
bird cuckoo. He would give me that LOOK. The LOOK that says.."She may be crazy,
but at least she's not dangerous." But, he didn't say anything.
It was on one of these forays to the
houseboat that the bird named itself. A fishing trip had been planned, and a
bucket of live squirmy, mud minnows, freshly retrieved from the minnow trap off
the back of the houseboat attracted the bird's attention.
The little bird became so excited, it almost fell off its tree perch. Steve
picked up a slippery minnow and held it out. The minnow was snatched out of his
hand and went straight down the birds gullet…bones and all. "It" loved live
The Owl sees its first Minnow
After gorging itself on five fat minnows, Steve dubbed it "SUSHI", and the tree
perch forevermore became Sushi's Tree.
"In Germany, a charm against the
terrible consequences of being bitten by a mad dog was to carry the heart and
right foot of an owl under the left armpit." - The Encyclopedia of Superstitions
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