Sometime in the middle of the night Big Daddy awoke and thought, "Oh, no. That ceiling fan finally bit the dust, and now I've got one more thing to add to my to-do list." And he went back to sleep.
A while later I awoke and thought, "I wonder why Big Daddy turned off the ceiling fan. It's not like him to get chilled in the middle of the night." And I went back to sleep.
When I got up early in the morning to let the dogs out, I realized we had no electricity. Strange, since the only time we might normally lose electricity is in the midst of a dangerous wind and thunder storm, but the previous night had been dry and calm.
So I used my cell phone to call the power company, anticipating a recording telling me they are aware of the problem and expecting it to be repaired by a certain time. Instead, I learned I was the first to report an outage in my area. And less than half an hour later, a power company lineman was at our house resetting the breaker on the transformer and showing us the reason behind the outage, which was limited to our house - a Great Horned Owl had been electrocuted when he decided to perch right next to that transformer.
|He was such a majestic bird. Note the feathering on the right upper side|
of his head, which gives the "horned" appearance.
|The coloring on his underside was quite intricate. Note how the foot on the left appears drawn in.|
|His talons show how he was able to grab and hold onto his prey.|
Note the zapped talon on the left where mega volts of electricity entered his body.
|Here is what he would have looked like in flight. Again, the "horns" over the eyes and the white band under his head verify that he was a Great Horned Owl.|
|Here is another view of that zapped talon.|
This is not the first owl to meet his demise at Le Rustique, but the other incident is a whole different story (saved for another day). Of course we would have liked to keep this owl, but it's against federal law to do so. Since this owl was so freshly dead and also intact (except for one talon), I was certain our local office of Missouri Department of Conservation would want to come and get it. It would make a great educational specimen. Instead, as they did with the other owl, they told us just to take it into the woods for disposal. And so, with a prayer for the spirit of the owl and a hope that he had not been the only one here, we took him into the woods.
|We chose a spot deep in the woods, but not in the densest area, and |
we laid his body inconspicuously at the base of an old dying cedar tree.
One of my favorite books of all time is I Heard The Owl Call My Name, a small novel by Margaret Craven (Copyright 1973). It was out of print for several years, but it's available again HERE. It's a beautiful read if you're interested.