the things you see

A live owl, a dismembered rabbit, and one suicidal rabbit that ran under my tire.

Last weekend one of my regular customers - a newspaper delivery guy - pulled up outside the store and motioned for me to come out.

A stunned owl.
He had an injured owl in the crook of his arm. He found it a block away from the store, up a side street on the sidewalk. It appeared to have been hit by a car, he said; it wasn't opening its left eye. There was no blood, but it was stunned (obviously, or it would never let a human pick it up).

I called the police dispatcher and asked for the number for animal control. It was about 6 a.m., so I didn't really expect anybody to be around. I woke somebody up at the animal control office, though, but he said that they "don't deal with wild fowl." I asked what we should do; it is a protected species and if we just let an injured bird loose in the woods, a coyote or bobcat could get it. The guy had no idea, so Terry said he'd take care of it until it could fly again.

As it turns out, just talking about coyotes and bobcats woke the owl from its stupor - it opened both eyes wide and twisted its neck around in both directions, as if to check for coyotes - and it flew away a short time later.

When I got home, just after dawn, I discovered what looked like an exploded rabbit in the road in front of my house.

Not a lucky rabbit's foot.

There was a hind foot on my side of the road, a mostly-empty skin about 10 feet away in the other lane (with a single, creepy eye staring at the sky), and the other hind foot was another 10 feet farther away but back on my side. Near the second foot was a smear of entrails, probably the result of an impact from a motor vehicle.

Later that morning I found the tail. It was in my driveway, probably 30 feet from the remains of the skin.

The most likely explanation for the exploding bunny is scavengers. They took everything worth eating (save one eyeball), leaving the hide, tail and hind feet spread around the area.

I took a few pictures of the first foot, then got a shovel and tossed the remains into the ditch across the street so the bugs, birds and beasts could consume it without getting hit by cars themselves. (Also to keep the carcass off of Rocko's radar. I don't want him snuffling around out in the road.)

The very next morning, I hit a rabbit on my way home. It darted under my car on one of the many curves on our road, and I couldn't do anything about it.

So, we had two unlucky rabbits but one very lucky owl. All in all I'd say that's a net positive.

1 comment:

  1. The owl story reminds me of a story my dad told. When he was checking his traps one day he found a great horned owl in one. The owl was in no mood to be helped so he had to hit it on the head with a club. He sat the "dead" owl on a fence post and propped it up with stick so anyone who happened by would think it was alive. The next day when he did his traps the owl was still there. He kicked the stick out of the way and the owl flew off, no worse for the experience.