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Remains of an Owl

On our walk yesterday we found the tattered feathers, bones and talons of an adult great horned owl. I picked him up gingerly by a single long, curved toenail and, holding the mess at arm's length, carried him home. A young couple driving by almost wrecked their car. Craig read her lips: "I don't know."

I kept aside the feet and talons and hung the rest on the back fence. I watched for buzzards all afternoon, but none came. I think they had already finished with this one. The local buzzards often dine in the general area where we found the owl.

A bird of this kind would not have a natural predator in these parts, as far as I know. Hard to say what could catch and kill a great horned owl anywhere. An eagle?

Look at those talons. I have added them to my grisly collection of animal memorabilia, which includes a couple of interesting snake skins (shed) and several skulls, including the skull of a wild boar.

Life is hard even if you are the hunter. When predators get old, I suppose they must start slipping up. Maybe the little possum gets away. No dinner for the owl.

I was teasing my friend David, a vegetarian, about how many plants I'd have to kill to make us a dinner, and he silenced me with this beautiful passage:

"Once when Rav Kook was walking in the fields, lost deep in thought, the young student with him inadvertently plucked a leaf off a branch. Rav Kook was visibly shaken by this act and, turning to his companion he said gently: believe me when I tell you that I never simply pluck a leaf or a blade of grass or any living thing unless I have to. Every part of the vegetable world is singing a song and breathing forth a secret of the divine mystery of the creation. The words of Rav Kook penetrated deeply into the mind of the young student: For the first time he understood what it means to show compassion to all creatures."
-Wisdom of the Jewish Mystics, pp. 80

Almost had me thinking well of humans for a minute there. Mother Nature herself is nowhere near this gentle.

Continue: Dark Adventures


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The Resident The Year of the

The Year of the Night Animals
Night Animals
Night Animals by Day
Murder in the Bamboo Forest
Possum’s Tale
Death of a Possum
Remains of an Owl
Dark Adventures
Close to Home
The Resident
The Last Tomato
The Resident Revealed
Squirrel Business
Snakes and Frogs
Garter Snake
Mystery Bird
Sharp-Shinned Hawk
Hawk vs. Dove
Raccoon in the Garden
Midsummer Nights
Animals We Live With
Not Animals