Monday, March 8, 2010

A second owl event

Warning: this blog contains photos and speaks of a dead owl:

This morning after a few hours revising and writing,  I went outside to work in my garden in my attempt to balance the mental acitivty with the natural world (including physical exercise) and was horrified to find a dead owl in my back garden lying in the leaves and ivy beneath a camellia, as if he had simply fallen out of the pecan tree or fell off my 6 ft. wooden fence. He looks as if he’s just sleeping.

I knew I had a raptor in my back yard, but thought it was a red-tailed hawk because I saw it and often heard it throughout the day. There may still be a red-tailed hawk. From what I can gather online, I'd identify the dead bird as barred owl. They often take over red-tailed hawk, crow, or squirrel nests since barred owls  don’t make their own. Barred owls are territorial and don’t migrate, living in one place and hunting within a mile. They hang out on the fringes of forests alongside red-tailed hawks so they can see across fields. There's an empty lot which looks mroe like a field these days.
No rigor mortis had set in and I can‘t find any wounds on the body. So now I wonder, did it die of starvation, poison or old age? Since I’m highly allergic to chemicals, I only garden organically making my own compost and I never use chemical fertilizers or insect killers.
I’m highly bothered by this. Event though it’s a small owl, only 12 inches, not counting the tail, I’ve never seen such a large bird in the wild this close before, even though I’ve seen many hawks and one snowy owl flying while hiking. Timing is too much of a synchronistic event (as I’ve spoken about in previous posts), since another owl, a much larger owl, perhaps a Great Horned owl, flew over our heads as we left our writer’s meeting in downtown Greenville last week. I blogged about this a few blogs ago and as I mentioned, I'm a believer of bird omens and use them frequently in my writing.
So this has me in a bit of a dither. I’ve called the Dept. of Natural Resources, Clemson University Urban Wildlife Office and the Carolina Raptor Center and no one is doing research on mortality rates. They offered various suggestions as to cause of death: flying into plate glass window. Don't think so, I don't have plate a sliding glass door. I have smaller windows with blinds and he’s far from the house. Electrocution. Don't think so, the nearest wires are far from where he fell. He doesn’t look emaciated although studies online state starvation is the main cause of death, after being shot or getting killed on highways. especially in young owls who aren't good at hunting yet. I have no idea if this is a young owl or not.
And I’m still not sure, if this is the raptor I’ve been seeing. The one I’ve seen looked more like a red-tailed hawk and the sounds I’ve heard were much more hawk like screeches than owl hoots. However, today, my garden has been deadly silent. Mystery upon mystery. Some things we’re not meant to know.
They suggest I incinerate or bury it because it's illegal to own even a feather fiom a raptor. Perhaps I'll may bury it next to my cat, Shisha.

1 comment:

  1. So strange... I hope terrible things aren't about to happen to us all. Did you see there was another earthquake this morning, in Turkey? I'm just focusing on the now as much as I can... it's all we can do, right?


Web Analytics