Alberta the Owl
Helping to raise orphaned young
By Yvonne Wallace Blane
Alberta, a great horned owl, came to us at Fellow Mortals in 1994 after being confiscated from a roadside zoo. Raised alone by a human, she does not know her own kind as peers, but looks to humans for companionship. Although she is physically perfect, she will never fly free because of this psychological crippling.
We were honored to give her a home and a reason to exist: to educate people about why wild creatures need, and deserve, to live free; and to allow her to do more perfectly what we can do only adequately — raise orphaned young of her own species.
By looking after other orphan owls, Alberta can prevent any more “mistakes,” which would permanently ground young of this magnificent species. For although Alberta sees humans as her peers, her maternal instinct and ancient heritage instructed her in how to build a nest from the feathers of her own breast, and how to incubate so faithfully the barren eggs she laid.
When it was almost time to give up her nest, the cries of the great horned young spoke to her instinctually, and taught her how to welcome two fluffy babies under her wings and mother the orphans as if they were her own. She feeds them carefully, cleans them thoroughly, and protects them absolutely. (My role as human owl is to act as the male who brings her food so that she need not abandon the helpless young.)
Alberta is a living lesson in humankind’s crimes against wild creatures: she is crippled, but not destroyed, and in the depth of her being her “owlness” is strong and undefiled and has risen out of unnatural circumstances to fulfill her natural purpose.