Good Luck WILL Rub Off

In the immortal words of that kosher Cockney, Dick van Dyke as he chirruped his way through “Mary Poppins”

Chim-chiminey, Chim-chiminey, Chim-chim cher-oo!
Good luck will rub off when,I shake 'ands with you
Or blow me a kiss and that's lucky too!

Well, that was almost the case for one sorry looking Tawny Owl who found its way to us this week.


The bird was brought into the centre late in the afternoon, due to the fact that the owl had spent an undetermined amount of time in a chimney!


The people who brought it in were clearly considerate and very concerned for the bird’s welfare. They had practically had to have their entire chimney dismantled in order to rescue the owl and after that costly business, then drove all the way too SOS in order to get the bird rehabilitated.


When we first opened the cardboard box in which it arrived (our prescribed method of moving injured birds - safe, dark, warm and not so large as to allow the contents to flap its wings and damage itself further), we thought we had discovered a completely new species of owl - the SUFFOLK SOOTY. As we now know, it was simply a Tawny Owl covered in black soot!


We instantly set about cleaning the owl as best we could, starting with eyes, throat and visible airways: the eyes in particular had to be rinsed very carefully to remove the grime, but as soon as we did this, the bird instantly perked up!  In the process of cleaning, the resultant copious clouds of soot surrounding the bird made us all cough - definitely not a nice substance to breath into your lungs regardless of what species you are!


After the big clean up, we placed the bird into a hospital compartment overnight to recuperate quietly from its ordeal. But sadly, I have to report that our sooty efforts came to nought - we cannot always work miracles and the owl died the following day.


There could have been several reasons for this - first & foremost because owls are particularly fragile creatures and highly susceptible to shock, which can lead to death.

However, we suspect that in this case the most likely cause was that the bird certainly ingested a large amount of soot in an attempt to free itself from the chimney or clean itself on its way into us.

Whilst on this occasion we were unable to help, we do of course stand by our commitment at S.O.S. to help care for and rehabilitate injured wildlife wherever possible. But as they say, you can’t win ‘em all!