Home > Sidney's Story - The Great Horned Teacher > A Bird Nerd That Can’t Sleep

A Bird Nerd That Can’t Sleep

Many nights this week I’ve had a hard time sleeping. Well, it caught up with me this afternoon. I checked into a hotel this afternoon getting ready for a talk

The beauty of a bird

tomorrow with PEAC  Cleveland(Parrot Education & Adoption Center). I put my bags on the chair and fell on the bed after I set my phone alarm for 15 minutes. I was out.

We’ve been getting several storms this past week. Late night thunder boomers is what my sister and I call them. They woke me up all week and I wondered what goes through my parrots heads when they hear this. I sit and wonder what they do in the wild. Probably sit under their canopy of leaves and not move. Being a companion parrot, I wonder what goes through their minds being in a home and hearing this. I don’t own a wild-caught parrot but my mind does drift and wonder what the wild-caught’s think. Do they think “Oh, I remember that sound.” Anthropomorphic? Yes, but I can’t help but think it.

Yes, I was thinking that at 3:30 am earlier this week when the house shook from the late night thunder boomers. I laid there and thought “I know their awake, perched on one foot, perching still but eyes wide open.” Then I thought “It’s 3:30 am and I am laying here wondering what their thinking with my eyes wide open.” I was involved in a conversation tonight at dinner about waking up in the middle of the night and the thoughts start and the sleep stops.

There was one other night, two nights ago when it wasn’t the rain the woke me up. It was the 60 mph wind gusts. It was 4:30 am and I woke not to thinking “I wonder what the parrots are thinking.” but I woke wondering “What in the heck is that noise”. The wind was gusting so hard I felt the pressure in the house move several times. I heard it again and ran to the aviary to make sure it was still standing. It didn’t phase it but it did phase everything else that was solid. I ran to the tv and flipped on the news. I didn’t even know we had news at 4:30 am. I do now. I was certain there were tornado warnings but confused at not hearing the sirens. They confirmed no tornadoes just wind gusts of up to 60 mph. I hurried and turned it off in hopes of going back to sleep.

The room went black and I shut my eyes. I heard the awnings creaking with the gusts. “They are going to fly off.” I thought. “Stop it and concentrate on going back to sleep.” Another gust and I cringed. I cringed again and again and then a thought. “There were winds gusts like this that shook an owls nest from a tree over a year ago. An owls nest with owlets in it.” Another gust and I cringed and then my thoughts were not on the aviary any more. They were on all the owls and other birds in nests that were going to lose their homes that night. Ugh, no more cringing, just a pit in my stomach with each cringe. No rest for the wicked. I tossed and I turned and found myself wanting to scream “Just stop it!” with each gust.

I thought of an owl named Sidney. She may have had another name when she was once in her nest last year. She lost that nest. She had an on looker for several days named Jeff Gee. He watched the parents in the nest. He watched the owlets in the nest. He watched a wind storm begin to develop and he worried about the nest. Rightfully so he worried. He came home that evening to look up for the nest and it was gone so off into the woods he went. He found

"Flap them Sid!"

an injured owlet and took her to Nature’s Nursery. There that owl’s name changed from owlet to Sidney. I had the honor of watching her change from Sidney to free in the months to come. You can find her story at this link: sidneys-story-the-great-horned-teacher. There is not a week that goes by that I don’t think of her. Something in my life reminds me of her. I always wish her well and thank her for teaching me. She’s had a major impact in my life and in my relationship with birds, whether parrot, blue jay or raptor. I think of her often and hope she’s hunting those black, Ohio, midnight skies.

So here I sit writing about her with thoughts and memories and wonders running through my mind. Another night of no sleep? Nah, I think it will be a night filled with owl dreams for sure. Good night Sidney. Flap those wings whether on earth or elsewhere. My mind still thinks of you. My mind still thinks of you. You are a part of my soul.

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  1. Pam H
    April 30, 2011 at 10:36 am

    Lara,

    While I read this and totally understand, I want you to know that I too think of Sidney often. Sometimes with a longing so strong, it is unbelievable. Having been a part of knowing her and watching her soar with your help, I think of her with great pride and wonder. She will always be a very special bird. I hope that she is out there and one day will be a wonderful owl mom … being what nature intended her to be. But selfishly I wish that she were still with you … allowing us to bask in her presence. She was so majestic and regal … unbelieveable in a way … Sidney will never be forgotten. Thank you once again for sharing her with me … and all of us.

  2. May 1, 2011 at 8:45 pm

    I was drinking my morning coffee with Mirka and having similar thoughts. We live next to train tracks– here comes the train barreling down the tracks, shaking the windows, whistle screaming and he’s listening, alert lines, but calm.
    And I’m thinking, does that bother you? Does it bother you when it happens at night? Do you think of it as stormy somehow? Is it unhealthy for you? Then I remembered (silly me) all of the birds outside that *choose* this area when they don’t have people keeping them in a certain place– the wood pecker that likes the pecan tree, the mockingbirds nesting in the crepe myrtle, the hawk that I see a few times a year down the road.
    Then the train’s past and now I hear the helicopter– a *much* less frequent visitor– and he’s craning (do cockatoos crane?) his neck to see out the window and looking tense.
    You do wonder what’s in that mind . . .
    Sleep better Lara. Dream sweet dreams.

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