Our Gracie girl is home again. This is the text of an email I sent out a little while ago to a very long list of artists and friends:
“Gracie is home safe and sound, as near as we can tell. She has a scratch above her beak and is much lighter in weight (good thing she was chunky), but a very, very happy girl!
We began searching at daybreak after we arrived at the tree we left her in last night and she was gone. At 9:30 we located her on the other side of the river at the very tip top of a deciduous oak. Dave was already on that side of the river so I directed him with hand signals to the tree in which she was perched. In the meantime I went home, got the car and drove around to that side of the river to join him.
We then sat under the tree trying to coax her down, but she obviously wanted us to climb the tree and fetch her. We think the only times she flew were when she was spooked. She didn’t really want to be a wild bird. Around 1pm she flew from the oak, up river, arcing back toward the side of the river we on. We jumped in the car, drove around to that area and spent another hour searching. We finally found her in a heavily wooded area. She had circled around and landed on the backside of the vista place from which she had flown. She was on a steep embankment, clinging to a 2 foot tall cedar tree…at last a tree we could deal with!
Now it’s time to clean up. I took one tick off my hair and another one attached to the back of my neck. I feel like I have critters in my clothes. Then it may be nap time after 51 hours of drama and not much sleep….and some wine and chocolate….of course.
Thank you to EVERYBODY!!! You were all so supportive and kept us going. You are all the best!!
Happy Valentines Day!!! (Dave got his ‘other woman’ back!)”
The good wishes and prayers from everyone were overwhelming. We live in such a lovely area, full of the best people in the world!
While sitting under the oak tree, we had a couple of rain showers which almost caused Gracie to fly. She hates water and started freaking when the rain drops were hitting her. Finally after a 3 1/2 hours of coaxing at the oak tree she flew to an area in which she could be retrieved…..though it took us another hour to find her. We were so hyped it felt like 20 minutes. It was unreal to pick her up and hold her. You want to believe you will catch her but you also know the odds are against you.
I know I’m going to be hurting tomorrow after all the hiking up and down steep hillsides and fighting tangles of blackberry….and probably lots of poison oak. But it was all worth it and we’d do it all over again in a heartbeat to get our girl home. This is one adventure we don’t want to repeat. As soon as we were home Gracie had her flight feathers trimmed…..as they should have been already!
David and his ‘girlfriend’
Gracie’s scratched cere
The large circle is the oak tree Gracie was in, the small circle is Gracie in the tip top tiny branches. The house in the background is where she was last night. The largest tree behind the house is one of the Ponderosa Pines she was in when we left her last night. She flew from there, over the river, to the oak in the circle. The land drops off to the river on both sides.
This is the view directly to the right of ‘Gracie’s oak tree’. Our house is to the left of the white house in the distance, you can’t see it. It’s amazing we found her!!!
Gracie in a precarious oak tree. This is the tip top of a large oak tree. This photograph was taken from the hillside above. We were hoping she could fly in a straight, level line to us. She didn’t know how to fly down, only up or at a level altitude. She also seemed to always fly to the right, in a clockwise circle. The tree was growing on a steep slope at the edge of a drop off to the river and was leaning out towards the river. There wasn’t a safe way to climb it, so we just had to wait.