I guess I can consider myself quite fortunate the past couple years with "Owl Luck". Anyone whose been following my blogs certainly knows that. I know, I said I wasn't going to blog about these birds again until next winter... but something happened last night that I would like to tell the tale of. Not quite certain what Owl adventure this is, there has been many, and #496 sounds like a good number at this very moment.
Unfortunately this isn't exactly the greatest story to be told but it happened so close to home, that I must. Driving home from work last night, it's nearing 10:30pm and I am not much more than a block away from our side street. I notice a clump laying in the right north bound lane of Scarlett Road. Obviously some kind of wildlife that had been hit by a car. I'm quite used to Squirrels, Opossums, occasional Raccoon along this stretch of road. But this was a bird and immediately before getting a good focus on it, I knew it was something "unique". Curiosity got the best of me and I did a U-turn, headed back, pulled over and got out to investigate. To my surprise, and sorrow, it was an Owl; a Northern Saw-whet Owl to be exact. I couldn't see his head at first but those fuzzy little feet and sharp talons were my first indication. One of his wings was over his face and seeing my little Sammy so many times this season, I am quite familiar with the feather details of these birds.
I didn't spend much time out here on the road looking at this bird. Its dark and while it's a 50 km/hr zone, people don't abide especially since this stretch is on a down grade. I put shop gloves on when I got out of the truck, and had some small towels in hand because I knew I was going to be doing something, even before knowing it was an Owl. So I picked him up, wrapped him in the towels, put him in the back of the truck and headed home. Not much to do with him now, so I set him out back on the deck and dealt with the situation this morning.
Day light comes, filling feeders and I give the body a look over once again with the sunlight over me, my clear eyes thanks to the coffee flowing through my veins. Yes, a little Saw-whet Owl indeed. How sad! And to think of how close to our house this little guy was. A golf course and some parks line this stretch of Scarlett and sadly, he crossed low over the road, and met his demise with a vehicle as so many Owls do each year. Perhaps just too focused on his prey? Their inability to move their eyes sure can be a fault, since they can only see straight ahead in flight, unless they turn their heads. So no real chance it saw a car coming towards it as it went to cross the road.
Happy the ground has thawed enough out back that I could bury him under the apple trees where many others already rest in peace (birds, a few Squirrels and a number of small pets). Sure it may sound a bit wonky and weird but I had to do it. I call the city for cats and large mammals that lay dead on the road around us. Most times birds and Squirrels are one with the road already. We live in a very mature area, lots of big trees, the Humber River is near, so there is lots of wildlife; but it's still the city and lots happens out there on the roads. And I'm not playing favorites here but I just couldn't leave this one on the road or throw him in the trash. Owls are a gift to see, such amazing mystical creatures and I am thankful for the many I have seen over the last few years.
And as I dug the small hole for this dead Owl, I took notice to something in the corner of my eye... our resident Chipmunk woke up today. He was scurrying around under the feeders, stuffing his cheeks. A reminder to me that while this Owl died last night, Spring is about birth, and in the sense of our Chipmunk coming back for a third season now... re-birth. It made what I just did a little easier.