Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Give a Hoot, Don't Pollute

Woodsy the Owl is a staple from my childhood. And a wise old owl he was. Way better than the "Don't Mess with Texas" anti-littering campaign from the 70's and 80's. At least for children it was better!

A few weeks ago Chris and I were watching TV and heard the strangest noise coming from outside. The dogs were snooping around in the back yard so we figured it was them. I let them in, but the noise continued.

After 30 minutes of pure annoyance, it was time to figure out where on earth the noise was coming from and what was causing it. I grabbed the gigantic maglite flashlight and headed outside (Reuger in tow, nothing will attack me if he's with me. I know, I am a total wus!).

It only took a minute outside to figure out that the noise was coming from an owl, but his whereabouts were still undetermined. Then all of a sudden, this HUGE flying thing was aimed at what I thought was my head...pretty sure I didn't look like food to the big old owl, but nonetheless I felt like I was being dive-bombed by a WWII bomber plane. That bird was huge! But his flight was so smooth and with what looked like little effort, as quickly as he appeared, he was gone into the open space beyond the reach of the flashlight.

He's been back many times since we "made" him, but rather than being terrified, I am excited. Woodsy has made our rooftop his lookout point during many late evenings for the last few weeks. How cool is that? We have a resident owl!

Well, it's not cool. SOOOO not cool. Did you know owls only hang out where there is prey? That means that our neighborhood apparently has an abundance of small critters that Woodsy finds delectable. Awesome.

When I was in 6th grade we went to an overnight camp (Camp Rotary in Clare, MI I think?). One of our science projects during the camp was to learn all about the owls that lived in the woods and how they ate, digested and...ummm...well..."passed" their food. Owls "spit" things called an "owl pellet" which contains the non-yummy parts of prey, like the fur and bones. We actually had to dissect one and identify the critter consumed as dinner. Gross.

However, that experience leads me to today and ties in this entirely random blog post. Woodsy left a gift for us on our back deck last night. Part of me wants to say, "thanks for getting the mouse before he got in my house," while the other part of me wants to shoot the owl for spitting the carcass of a field mouse on the deck for the dogs to find.

Either way, it's part of the food chain and also inevitable when you live so close to so much open space. We have elk crossing sings only 3 miles from the house.

So, I will end on this note:
Dear Woodsy the Owl. I was a good kid and gave a hoot and didn't pollute (much). I'd appreciate the same in return, and if you must "pollute" your pellets, please continue your flight an additional 10 feet to the other side of the fence line. Please and thank you.

Now swoop on my friend, swoop on!


  1. I will tell the owls around here to pass the word.

  2. Gross! I love seeing wild life, and I loves owls, but really, that is just gross. I hope the darn thing gets your message and swoops on!