Chapter 6 - Tap Dancer
Regardless of my failure with the
beef heart, Sushi was growing rapidly. Our ugly duckling had finally turned into
a beautiful, but ravenous swan. A fortune was being spent on live mud minnows,
vitamins, canned catfood and occasional mistakes like the beef heart. Sometimes
we had minnows in our minnow trap, but most of the time we didn't. That meant a
trip to the bait shop on a regular basis for live minnows.
Almost every morning, on the way to
work, I would stop by the bait shop to buy a bag of live mud minnows to go. The
lady who ran the shop always asked about the owl. We joked about fast-food for
One particular morning, while on my
minnow mission, I decided to take Sushi inside the bait shop and introduce him
to the lady. She wasn't there. Instead, her husband was outside the building
retrieving live shrimp for a customer from the big bait tank.
As I carried the owl into the bait
shop inside his big open basket, I noticed a cooler on the floor to my left full
of tiny, live fiddler crabs. The little crabs were scrabbling about in the
sawdust floor of the cooler. About the time the owner walked back in the
door... Sushi took his very first flight!
Sushi took off from the basket,
landed smack-dab in the middle of the cooler full of fiddlers, and proceeded to
tap dance all over them. Sushi was grabbing talons full of fiddlers, stuffing
them into his beak, and swallowing them whole! He was garbling delightedly
The owner yelled, "Hey!!!", to stop
the owl from gobbling down all of his profit. But, it didn't phase Sushi, who
seemed to be having a grand time doing his tap dance.
Although the wife knew about the owl, the husband didn't. What a shock it must
have been to walk into his own business and find a large owlet inside a cooler
eating his hard gained fiddlers.
Sushi had to be physically removed
from the cooler by gently grabbing him with both hands around his wings and
lifting him back into his basket, still with two talons and a beak full of
The owner had to smile. He was paid much more than the fiddlers were worth, and
I added a new "to go" item to my shopping list with them. Sushi had a new food
source... fresh fiddlers. The owl had never seen a live fiddler crab. Yet, his
instinct told him this was food. He did what would come natural in the wild.
Relief! I didn't have to teach the owl everything. There are some things they
just know. The owl was teaching me!
Even with this new food source, the
concern was that the owl might be undernourished. So, Sushi was constantly tried
on new food items. Chicken livers, giblets, and beef liver were met with the
same distain as the mouse and the beef heart. Here was an owl that didn't like
the taste of blood. My worries continued.
"If a habitual drunkard was given owl's eggs broken in a cup, he would henceforth detest strong drink as much as
he formerly loved it." - The Encyclopedia of Superstitions
Previous Page | Next Page