Friday, 24 February 2012
The Owl Who Came to Dinner
So... I'm sitting here this lovely morning with my steaming cup of brew and wondering what I could possibly talk or for that matter write about when I happened to glace at a picture of a few years back. One of my favorite chickens... and it hit me. Remember when I told you about the worries I had about the owls and the hawks living so close by? Well... Sit back a bit and get comfy.
It was a beautiful sunny summer day. One of those days that is wonderfully warm but yet has a beautiful breeze that keeps all the little bugs away. The kind of day when you want to be outside. In fact you have to be outside because it is just too nice not to be. So, there I was puttering here and there but not really doing much of anything. I watered a few plants that looked a bit dry and spent quite a bit of time gazing at the yard deciding where I was going to put my flower gardens as the landscaping wasn't done. Really? I was just killing time and listening to the wonderful sounds of the sheep in the pasture and the chickens clucking while enjoying the feel of the sun on my back. Sigh... Those are the days! One of the big reasons why I don't want to live anywhere else.
Suddenly the idyllic day was shattered with the raucous calls of chickens in danger, dogs barking and then Mountain Man yelling. What??!??! What was going on? Do I run for a gun or run to see what is happening? I ran! I was too far away to get to the gun and close enough so I could see what was happening in a few seconds. My heart was beating like a jackhammer as I raced around the side of the house.
Of course, by the time I got there the fuss was all over and all I saw was Mountain man reach down to pick up the remains of one of our teenage birds that had been hatched that spring. While we started to walk towards the house with this half-grown bird carcass he related to me what happened.
He had been on his way to his tool shed when he heard a racket and looked towards the chicken coop just in time to see an owl grab one of the chickens. The owl then, with heavy load in it's talons, tried to take off but was unable to gain any lift due the the chicken it was carrying. As luck would have it, it was heading straight towards him and could not get higher unless it dropped its catch which it refused to do. It was flying so low that by the time it was right beside him it was still below waist height, so... he kicked at it! It dropped the chicken and flew off to one of the trees and sat there looking at us! He pointed it out just as it was flying away.
I still shake my head at this scenario! We had been loosing about a chicken a day for the last week or so before this happened and had not figured out what was taking them. Now we knew! It was only by luck that Mountain Man happened to be there to see it and to stop it. We never lost a chicken after that. I guess the owl was so startled he decided to look for easier prey. The fields are full of mice and gophers so he or she wasn't going to go hungry that's for sure.
So, what did we do with the "rescued" chicken? Well, there was nothing else to do as it was dead. We ate it for dinner. Yum!