Owl always be amused
Wednesday August 12th 2009, 5:05 pm
Filed under: Wildlife

One more story from Marley (oops) Farley Mowat:  you know how cats like to catch small creatures and bring them proudly inside to show their not-thrilled owners?

Farley had a science teacher who encouraged him to find and study a great horned owl nest, which he did.  And–this was in something like 1929, a bit of a while ago–he eventually pocketed one of the fledglings and took it home.

And then later found another one of a slightly different subspecies being tortured by some other boys; he rescued it by trading a prized possession for it.

The tortured owlet stayed a timid thing for life, but the other was “pretty sure of itself and its place in the world.” Which was, thank you very much, with him.  Mary’s little lamb had nothing on an owl disappointed that the kid disappeared and went off to school on his bike come September; he went looking for him and landed on his shoulder on a bridge, settling its five-foot wingspan down in triumph and nearly causing a car accident by a startled driver.

He was finally able to bribe his birds to stay home with bacon in the kitchen. But not before the one had extracted a child’s dream of revenge on a nasty teacher.  His descriptions of the comings and goings of those owls makes me wonder if JK Rowling picked up any ideas from him.

And there was this: those owls hated skunks. The smell made them furious.  They were on them like a mongoose on a cobra, and one time one flew through the open window just as the family was finishing dinner and it settled down next to Farley with its prey.  Mind if I join you?

The skunk wasn’t quite dead yet.

Now aren’t you glad your cat likes mice instead?

16 Comments so far
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Wow! That’s quite a story! I had a Siamese cat once, but her mousing abilities were nil, to say the least.

Comment by Don Meyer 08.12.09 @ 5:21 pm

LOL What a great story!!
It reminds me of my Grandpa ‘Piff’ Miller. :-}

Comment by Diana Troldahl 08.12.09 @ 5:52 pm

I believe that I need to go read this book as I was captivated by your sharing of one of the pieces, but I’m sure much of that was the story-teller herself:)

Comment by TripletMom 08.12.09 @ 7:51 pm

I had to laugh, just imagine those owls! Thanks for sharing your wonderful sense of humor.

Comment by Laura 08.12.09 @ 9:31 pm

Yes, yes, yes, I definatelly prefer my feline to that!

Comment by Henya 08.12.09 @ 10:13 pm

When you consider all the regulations in schools today — I don’t believe they would be able to handle a boy and his owl!

What a story – thanks!

Comment by Barbara-Kay 08.12.09 @ 10:29 pm

Great Horned Owls do actually consider skunks to be prey. And since most birds (with the exception of vulture-types) don’t have much (if any) sense of smell, skunks are just another source of food.

Which, in wildlife rehab, makes GH Owls rather…icky…to deal with if they have recently eaten such a meal. Doors open, fans blowing…not much help in dissipating the aroma.

Comment by Deb 08.12.09 @ 11:44 pm

I love it! I mean, since I don’t have pet owls, it’s funny…

Comment by Channon 08.13.09 @ 5:57 am


Comment by Jody M 08.13.09 @ 6:34 am

What a great story!!! I never would have thought about such a chain though: skunks making owls go crazy… lol

Comment by Suzanne in Mtl 08.13.09 @ 7:53 am

Yikes! But what a story to tell!

Hoping your improvement is still steady. . .hugs!

Comment by Pam 08.13.09 @ 9:46 am

Wonderful story! Farley Mowat is awesome.

(and Canadian, she says, full of reflected glory ;))

Comment by Lene 08.13.09 @ 12:40 pm

You stinker, you! So happy that you are taking supreme care of yourself, and have the energy to share some of your delight with us. Promise you’ll still take it easy for several more days after you think you can handle more.

Comment by DebbieR 08.13.09 @ 1:15 pm

I’ll stick with the cats, thanks. Although years ago my SassyFrass decided to investigate a skunk in the yard instead of coming in when called. I learned that night that skunk spray is rather viscous. ’nuff said…

Comment by Leslie 08.13.09 @ 2:48 pm

Oh, I LOVED Farley Mowat’s books when I was a kid. Delightful stuff . . . I should reread them.

Comment by Lanafactrix 08.14.09 @ 11:30 am

Love it! And now I’m wondering about Siamese after Don’s comment- the last mouse our cat encountered was only in danger if he had a weak heart. The cat followed it around, fascinated, purring thunderously and occasionally patting it gently, as if to confirm there weren’t any strings. She was quite disappointed when it disappeared under a heating register and didn’t come out again. We pictured the mouse getting back to its brethren in the basement and panting, “Oh boy! You’ll never believe what just happened to me!”

Comment by RobinH 08.14.09 @ 6:23 pm

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