Meet GiGi. This great horned owl arrived at Mississippi’s Wild at Heart Rescue after suffering from a major head trauma. Rescuers believe she was hit by a car. The poor thing had a huge concussion and her body was full of parasites. She also had aspergillosis, a condition similar to pneumonia in humans, Missy Dubuisson, founder and director of Wild at Heart says.
The owl was so sick that she lost an entire pound of weight during her treatment. This is quite was a lot, since great horned owls typically weigh anywhere from two to five pound.
“This bird was one of the most critical we have ever taken care of,” Dubuisson said. “The fact that this bird has lived is beyond comprehension.”
But that’s when Douglas “Doug” Pojeky, president of the rescue and affectionately known as the “birds of prey whisperer”, stepped in to GiGi’s aid.
“In all my years of working with birds of prey, I have never seen someone with such a bond with these magnificent birds,” Dubuisson said.
Under Pojeky’s care, GiGi went from knocking at “death’s door to perching,” Dubuisson said. She used to be hand-fed, but soon she started grabbing food on her own. GiGi trusted and cared for the man, and one day, she let him know her love in the sweetest way.
Pojeky went to Michigan to visit his family, leaving GiGi without his company for a while. When he came back, he gave GiGi an examination. Then she immediately started bobbing her head up and down, and dancing on his arm. She slowly walked up to his chest, rested her head on his shoulder, and gave him a big owl hug.
Wait till you see how happy she looks to be reunited with her favorite person in the whole wide world.
Pojeky said that being hugged by GiGi held a really special importance to him. Growing up, a great horned owl used to perch on the top of his family barn. Pojeky’s father usually saw the owl, but Pojeky and the rest of the family hardly ever did. But on the morning of his dad’s death, the owl was spotted overlooking the farm house, where the man had passed away, before flying off into the woods.
“For some reason when that bird was hugging me, all I could think of was my dad,” Pojeky said.
GiGi will be released back into the wild once she makes a full recovery. She is safe hands in the meantime.
“It literally brings tears to my eyes to watch him interact with these birds,” Dubuisson said. “They absolutely know him and trust him. It’s the trust that you see in her face.”
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