The more I look at the pictures of the little owl fellow that flew around in our garage, the more I think it’s a baby. And not just because it’s small, either. No, I have found pictures of breeds that are much smaller. See below.
No, I think it’s a baby just because it’s so ruffled looking. It doesn’t have the smoothness the adult owls have in the pictures I am finding online. But then again, it was in MY garage. I get ruffled every time I go out there too and that obnoxious little dog barking like that… I bet he was thinking, “If ONLY I were bigger and I could just eat that damned thing to shut it up!” I don’t know for sure, but since I am having trouble finding a picture that looks like it, I think that it’s a youngster.
Now here’s my story about the last time I had to deal with an owl. I mean before this.
I was 18 years old and my brother, Cam was 10. Our dad was in hospital having some heart bypasses, so we were staying at home by ourselves while our mother was at the hospital with him. We lived in a big ol’ two story house and he and I had never stayed by ourselves before. (I mean, OF COURSE, right?) I had been hearing a strange little scratching noise in the wall of my bedroom at night and had decided we must have mice and made a mental note to tell Mither about it as soon as everything calmed down and got back to a more normal routine. The chimney to the living room fireplace shared my bedroom wall and it never occurred to me that there could be anything in there. This went on for three nights. Then, one evening, I was sitting on the couch in the living room reading and all of the sudden there was this gigantic WHOOSH of ashes that flew up in the fireplace. I couldn’t see anything and then this huge white face with two enormous eyes turned around and looked at me and blinked. It was a gigantic barn owl. IT WAS HUGE, PEOPLE. It just stood there in the fireplace and looked around and at me. I just sat on the couch without moving like a scared little kitten. I wasn’t really scared even, I just had no idea what to do. My brother was asleep and besides that… he was 10. I called Mom and told her and by this time I watched the owl hop up on top of the damper and sit there. I stuck my head in the fireplace and could see two great big talons wrapped around the metal edge of it. I counted myself lucky that I hadn’t received any owl shit in the face, wondered briefly if it really was slick, (My pop was always saying one thing or another was “slicker than owl shit”.), and pulled my head back out. Mom had said she didn’t know what to do either and she’d be home the next day. So we agreed that it needed water and food, as it had been there for at least three days, (that’s what I’d been hearing in the wall, actually the chimney). So I got a little bowl of water and some lunch meat and put it in the fireplace. I then closed the heavy metal chain link screen…and went to bed.
I have to say that except for the initial whooshing landing in the fireplace I was never really scared of it. I felt very sorry for it and was worried it was going to die of dehydration, but I just never got the feeling it was threatening.
It never touched the food or water at all, that I could tell. Perhaps it wanted mayo and wheat bread with pickles. Perhaps it was a mustard kind of owl. I don’t know why it turned up it’s…beak to my dinner selection, I only know it did.
So, that next night my dear, brave mither came home and we set about getting the owl out of the house. It had jumped back down in the fireplace. Mither was terrified out of her mind awed by it. I opened the screen and we waited for it to decide to come out. It was probably a little shy and wondered why we kept peeking around the corner at it. Finally, it did and we ran in to try to shoo it…somewhere, and it flew straight into the sliding glass door. No, we had not thought to open it first. It was freakin cold outside and that’s my excuse. Whatever. Anyway, it smacked it’s beak pretty hard and was dazed and confused. It was like it was competing with us… still think we won the dazed and confused contest…
The poor thing flew around the living room for a short bit and landed on things you wouldn’t think it would choose to land on and then flew through the breakfast area, kitchen, utility room and into the game room, completely avoiding the sliding glass door that stood open. We followed. Finally we had it somewhere we thought we could get it out easily. There was a pair of French doors that one of us opened all the way. I kept trying to shoo it toward the doors and it seemed oblivious. It flew all over and finally when I was wondering if we were keeping it and could it please live in my brother’s room, it looked straight at the doors and I almost heard it say, “Ah ha!” I saw the little light bulb go on over it’s head and it took off. With both full size doors open it had to tilt diagonally to fit through the opening. The doors were six feet across. I don’t even know what the diagonal measurement was. A lot. Freakin’ huge-ass owl.
I have to point out that my dear mither was a squealing mess, cowering against whatever wall she could back up against and standing in doorways ready to flee, whilst making small squeaking noises. Pretty much useless for herding owls. Luckily, she has proven invaluable for a large multitude of other things… and we all love her dearly.
If you head on over to Psychicgeek, Witchypoo has written a very moving post about Ivy, a two year old little girl that is desperatly ill and is having a life saving treatment withheld from her. It’s all a bunch of bureaucracy and her mother is trying to do everything possible to help her. This is an online company that does petitions and I want you to go there and sign up. Ivy needs all the help she can get.
Comment by Mither on September 5, 2008 at 5:26 pm
I thought you were making me sound pretty darn good with the “we ran” here and there until I got to the “squealing mess” paragraph. I just have to say it was one of the worst experiences of my life!! I was terrified and Kris kept saying, “Mom, just stand there and head if off!” I couldn’t. It was terrifying. I am lucky to have a brave daughter!
Comment by Tranny Head on September 5, 2008 at 9:35 pm
I have a similar story – except it was a bat instead of an owl. Yes, a bat. And we tried really hard to herd it to the doors … until my cat leapt upon the sofa and took the bat out mid-flight. The bat, stunned, was then shuffled outside where it quickly recovered and flew off.
Leave a cat to do the work people can’t handle, damnit.
Comment by Roger on September 6, 2008 at 12:16 am
I agree that the owl looks like it is immature, I should let my wife’s uncle look at it, he knows his owls.
Anyway. Don’t you know that Barn Owls prefer to have mayo and a little dijon with their fresh carrion?
Personally, I would have been freaking out and would NEVER have looked up the fireplace at it, let’s just say that I’m not a fan of birds because they like to target my butt! (Bastards!)
Comment by Krissa on September 6, 2008 at 12:52 am
I like to think that that would be the kind of barn owl we would attract… 😉
Comment by witchypoo on September 6, 2008 at 7:40 am
Awesome story! Bet you had some soot cleaning afterwards too!
I reposted the Ivy story, as per Veronica’s instructions. It was so well written, I didn’t feel I could improve upon it.
Thanks for spreading the word about dear little Ivy.
Comment by Colleen on September 7, 2008 at 9:36 pm
I just signed the petition…857th person to do so. Hope it helps.
That’s an awesome owl story! We had a small Blackbird get in through our furnace and I came home to a ransacked house, 4 crazed cats and 1 very scared bird. Thankfully once I closed the bird off in my room and kicked the cats out, it figured out how to get out one of the open windows. I was scared silly that one of the cats would recreate Wild World of Animals right in front of me. *shudder* Glad your story ended well, too.
Comment by anonymous on March 12, 2012 at 4:24 pm
Looks like a screech owl to me, but I don’t know…I just know that the first picture is definitely a Northern Saw-Whet and not a Pygmy…
Comment by Lori on August 22, 2013 at 8:02 pm
That looks like the baby screech owls we had in our woods last year.
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