GiGi, a great horned owl, is totally alone until she met the one guy who would change her life forever.
GiGi was brought to Mississippi’s Wild at Heart Rescue near the end of May after suffering serious brain damage, which the rescue believes was caused by a vehicle accident. Missy Dubuisson, founder and director of Wild at Heart, told The Dodo that she had a major concussion, parasites all over her body, and an illness called aspergillosis, which is akin to pneumonia in humans.
GiGi was so sick that she dropped a whole pound of weight throughout her treatment, which was a lot given great horned owls normally weigh between 2 and 5 pounds.
“This was one of the most important birds we’ve ever cared for,” Dubuisson added. “It’s incomprehensible that this bird has survived.”
Douglas “Doug” Pojeky, the rescue’s president and fondly known as the “birds of prey whisperer,” would be the person at the rescue who might assist GiGi regain her health.
“I have never seen someone with such a relationship with these wonderful creatures in all my years of working with birds of prey,” Dubuisson said.
GiGi went from knocking at “death’s door” to perching under Pojeky’s care, according to Dubuisson. She also moved from being spoon-fed to being able to feed herself. GiGi had clearly grown to trust and care about Pojeky, and she made it clear in the most unexpected way.
Pojeky had gone to visit family in Michigan, leaving GiGi alone for the time being. Pojeky returned and gave GiGi a thorough inspection, after which she began bobbing her head and dancing on his arm. She then moved gently up to his chest, resting her head on his shoulder and wrapping her wings around him in a filled owl kiss.
Just before she embraced Pojeky, she had a smile of pure happiness on her face, indicating how pleased she was to be reunited with her favorite person.
Pojeky told The Dodo that being embraced by GiGi was really meaningful to him. A great horned owl used to sit on the top of Pojeky’s family barn when he was a kid. Pojeky and the rest of his family never saw the owl, despite his father’s frequent sightings. The owl was observed above the farm home where Pojeky’s father passed away on the morning of his father’s death, before flying off into the woods.
“When that bird hugged me, all I could think about was my dad,” Pojeky explained.
Watch this video of a fisherman who saved a starving wild bird:
GiGi will be released back into the wild after she has fully recovered. In the meanwhile, she may count on Pojeky.
“Watching him connect with these birds actually brings tears to my eyes,” Dubuisson added. “They are completely familiar with him and have complete faith in him. It’s the look of trust on her face.”