Updated: We Thought the Owl Covered in Blood May be Injured but it Turns Out He’s a Messy Eater

Spoiler alert: there is a picture of animal bones and a distant picture of a disembodied leg. These are owls we’re talking about.

We’ve had a couple of owls living on our little street (a cul de sac with just six houses). They’ve been hooting away during the day and night for several months. That’s not all they’ve been doing, either.

This morning Tom and our neighbors, David, Betsy, and Roger (Betsy and Roger are married) found a surprise in the middle of our cul-de-sac. I was sleeping at the time, as I’m not currently a responsible, contributing member of society. So, rather than re-hash all of this in my own words, particularly since I wasn’t there and don’t deserve to pretend to be, here’s the baby owl’s story as told through Facebook posts.

First, David posted a picture of the owl:

Tom posted a video of him:

And Betsy updated her status and explained what the owl-helpers told her:

And, of course I wanted to see owl pellets. So, I headed over to Betsy’s driveway, where she told her son he could “keep” them (the same place he found them). We all know owls are bad mother-shut-my-mouths, but as we looked at one pellet, then found another, and then another, we slowly realized we were standing below their nest, and let me tell you, I am glad I’m not a mouse. Or a bird. Or a chipmunk. Or a rabbit.


I said, “It’s a spine!” When we looked at the first owl pellet.
But it looks like it was actually a foot.
Betsy started yelling “IT’S A LEG! IT’S A LEG!” before I even saw it.

Seriously, y’all, they sit up in their nest of horror and drop animal body parts over the side.*

Betsy also told me that the raptor rescuer said that while the babe’s blood was from breakfast, he DID have fly eggs on him, which, if hatched could cause maggots, which would then have caused his death. So, he had several baths at the rescue place, and they will let him dry overnight and will bring him back tomorrow. Hopefully there won’t be any issue and he’ll be welcomed back with open wings and the slaughter can begin again (they eat up to 10 mice a day). So, yay for Betsy and the Chattahoochee Nature Center for preventing what sounds like a pretty horrible maggot-related death.

This is the picture Tom took of him when he first found him. Even as a relatively helpless birdie, he looks pretty intimidating – look at those talons!

*I’m kidding, owls! I love you. Please don’t hurt me.

Update: My title was a lie! This morning, the raptor lady came in to check on baby owl (I keep wanting to nickname him “bowel” but that’s not right), and he had blood on him again. After another thorough pat down, she discovered three puncture wounds on his inner thigh. So, he’ll stay with them while he’s on some antibiotics and will be returned after the wound is in the clear.

She thinks the cause of the injury was that his parents stepped on him. I would go over and lecture up at the nest about them needing to be more careful with their babies, but I’m afraid they’ll toss a squirrel head over the side at me and I know I wouldn’t recover from a trauma like that.

The theory is that the wound made him tip forward when he ate, so he would fall in his bloody food, which explains why he looked like Stephen King’s Carrie at the prom. That would also explain why he’s all hunched over in the scary pictures of him.

Update 7/24/12 – I’ve noticed this post has gotten some traffic lately. I feel like I should complete the story even though it’s a sad one. The baby owl passed away a few days after I posted this. I was so bummed about it I didn’t have the heart to write about it.

He died from rat poisoning. A rat must have ingested rat poisoning, and then the baby owl and the rest of his family probably caught and ate that rat. Most likely they all died as all owl sounds in the neighborhood ceased shortly after we found the baby.

Rat poison is serious, serious business. It doesn’t just kill rats – putting it out is a risk for many animals, including pets. The irony is that the rat poison killed one of nature’s best pest controls. Such a shame.

My Bad Habit: Writing Posts to Further Avoid Having to Talk to My Neighbor

I have many, many bad habits. I pop all my zits (fuck you beauty magazines), I can’t have junk food in the house because I will inhale it in a day, I will stab your sentimentality with a broken bottle, etc. But the bad habit I’m currently suffering from is social avoidance. Which, admittedly, isn’t exactly a habit, it’s more of a neurosis, but I’m not splitting hairs, which is also a bad habit.

You see this? It’s a giant dead tree. It has a leprosy-like oozing wound towards the bottom. It looks like The Jolly Green Giant has been kicking it. All of its branches are on one side, because, and this is just a guess, when the tree was alive, it also was socially avoidant.

This big, dead, dented tree is leaning towards the electricity, internet, and cable-making lines. Every day (ok, twice a week), when I leave the house, I think, “I sure hope that tree doesn’t fall,” and then I think the same thing when I get home, twenty minutes later.

Since we’re trying to sell the house, we think it’s in our best interest to get rid of it (and, you know, because it will kill civilization when it falls), but the problem is, it’s right on the property line with our neighbors. We’re pretty sure it’s on their side of the property line because of a row of now-dead formerly fluffy ornamental plants, which we assume serve as a natural dividing line.

The logical thing to do is walk 200 feet or so, knock on their door, and ask them about it. The neighbor husband works from home, so it shouldn’t be hard to catch him – I’m home all day, too.

I’ve spoken to these neighbors probably 4 times. The first time was when I met them. The other times involved the fact that they let their dog out in their unfenced front yard and forget about him. I don’t like this about them – we live on a very, very small cul-de-sac, right near a busy road. Their previous dog was hit by a car. They haven’t pieced together the problem yet. So, not only do I have my general social anxiety and avoidance to contend with, I also have crazy thoughts like, “I don’t want to go over there when the dog’s not out because he’ll let the dog out when I come to the door and then the dog will get hit by a car and I’ll never be able to live with myself.”

I’ve actually come to the conclusion a few times that I’ll just pay to have this huge tree removed to avoid having to have a 2 minute conversation with my neighbor. But, then I realize that’s crazy, and then I reset the feedback loop.

And so there sits the tree – a giant, dead monolith commemorating my inability to initiate a conversation.

I’m not even going to get into my next bad habit, which will ride the coattails of the current one. Once it’s settled, if I have to deal with the tree, that will involve a phone call, and then we’re talking another month or so of avoidance.

This post was written in response to Studio30 Plus’ writing prompt, “Bad Habits.

Patient zero just told herself waiting one more day to change the litter box won’t make a difference.

I’m about 3/4 through reading World War Z. I’m loving this book and I can’t wait to see how it’s adapted for the screen. It’s making me contemplate what kind of person or circumstance may cause the patient zero zombie when the zombie outbreak inevitably happens in real life. Theories:

  • Booger eater
  • Cleaning the Gutters – strange things amass in those gutters between cleanings
  • Kristen Stewart, she’s a heartbeat (or lack of) away from becoming a zombie
  • Silica gel pack ingestion
  • Any person on My Strange Addiction – you can’t eat ashes and pillow cushions and not be one bite away from a walker
  • Someone finally waits too long to change a litter box
  • Skinny jeans and jeggings constrict blood flow to the brain, killing all but the wanting-to-devour-live-humans part
  • There’s got to be a worse consequence for running with scissors than just a simple impalement
  • Strobe lights
  • Somebody’s gonna make a wish and it’s going to be misinterpreted by the genie. Something like, “I want to live forever because I love food and never want to stop eating it.”
  • Grapples, I don’t trust them
  • One time, at a flea market, there was a bunch of boxes filled with toys. I was sifting through it, and I found a rusty saw. I think if I had hit the rusty saw end first, and not the handle, I may have been patient zero
  • Mega jet lag
  • We run out of things to fry, and people are the only thing left to try
  • Coconut candy, obviously

What else? I know I’ve missed some.

Pop Culture Haiku: I saw this picture of Paula Deen in People Magazine and it scared me.

This picture, it screams
“maple syrup rampage, y’all!”
No one will be spared.

I’m not going to
write a haiku about her
diabetes stuff

I will, though, write a
haiku about butter ’cause
it may calm her down

Mmm, butter butter
Butter butter butter, mmm
Mmm, butter butter

Is she asleep, yet?
Shh, everyone slowly
back out of the room.

The Girls Who Wouldn’t Shut Up at a Movie Tattoo

I love going to the movies.

This weekend we went to watch The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (No, I haven’t read the book. We were going to get the audio book for our drive to N.C. over Christmas, but Tom didn’t want to “spoil the movie”).

The movie theater we like to go to is an eat-in theater that serves meals, and drinks in cups without tops (just establishing this for later). When we got there, 15 minutes early, as usual, we got our nice seats in the middle and settled in. Shortly after, two women sat in the row behind us, a little to the left of Tom:

They were chatting at full volume. The movie hadn’t started yet, but there were things on the screen (ads for Justified are the only thing I remember because I love Justified). I usually get a sense for when people are going to be a problem. There are types who talk loudly until the movie starts, and then settle in and behave like proper humans. Then, there are people, who, you can just tell. You can hear it.

These are the things proper humans tend to talk about before a movie starts, even if it’s a little louder than I would talk:

Person A: Hey! How’s it going? Did you find the theater ok?
Person B: Yeah, it was fine. How are you?
A: I’m good. I’ve read good things about this movie.
B: Yeah, Sally saw it and said it was great.
A: How’s Sally? I haven’t talked to her in a while.
B: She’s good (PREVIEWS START) (now whispering) I’ll tell you after the movie.

These are the kinds of things I hear “problems” talking about at full volume before the movie starts:

Person A: Do you want to get some popcorn?
Person B: I don’t know, the last time I had popcorn I got terrible gas.
A: Well we could have something else, maybe some nachos.
B: Yeah, that sounds good. What size?
Five minute conversation about size of nachos.
B: My hemorrhoids are killing me.
A: How do we tell someone what we want to eat?
Five minute conversation about that.
Five minute conversation with the waiter about the size of nachos.

Basically, nothing can be thought inside the brain, everything has to be said out loud. And, I know people who would have these types of conversations for all to hear, but would still shut up for a movie, so these movie talkers are very special kinds of people.

Here are a couple of hints to let you know if you are perhaps the type of person I’m talking about:

–    If, once the previews start (meaning the lights have gone down), you in no way speak any quieter than you were when the lights were on and nothing was on the screen. Or, you continue to speak as if your friend, who is inches away from you, is in another movie theater.
–    If you were watching The Chipmunks: Chipwrecked instead, and the 4 year olds in that movie would have shushed you because you were distracting them.
–    If you are talking so loudly and constantly after the movie starts, that when Tom turns around and asks you to be quiet, you don’t hear him.

Yes, Tom asked them to be quiet and they didn’t hear him. The reason we know this is because when Tom asked them the second time, loud enough for everyone to hear, and during a moment they both miraculously had stopped making noise to inhale oxygen, they shut the fuck up.

There are people who talk loud and don’t care – those are assholes who enjoy being asshole-y and get off on the fact that they are making other people miserable. Those people, at least, I “get.” Then, there are the oblivious types. As Tom put it, “I understand serial killers better than I do these types of people.” They are like toddlers who don’t understand the concept that if they close their eyes, other people can still see them. They don’t get that other people also have ears that can hear their voices. They treat the movie theater like it’s their living room. These people were like that.

How? How do people become 40+ years old and not understand the idea that a. people go to the movies to hear and watch the movies and b. not everyone gives a shit about what you think is happening in the movie, particularly when you are WRONG. “There’s a gun missing!” No, there’s not. “That’s her!” No, it’s not.

We were once stuck behind an old couple who took turns reading the opening credits. One time, when my sister and I went to see “Chicago,” at a sold out show, a lady (who had come late and asked her grown son to explain the movie up to that point) answered her phone and proceeded to chat at full volume, then left early, like some sort of shitty angel sent to “touch” everyone’s lives.

These are people who very well may be delightful people under any other circumstance, but they are not people who were made to sit through a movie in a public movie theater. Perhaps they do know what they’re doing, and they just think no one will call them on it, but I think that’s giving them too much credit. Often times, when I lament others’ lack of courtesy, it’s pointed out to me that perhaps it’s not that people do it on purpose, it’s that they just didn’t “notice.” To me, when it comes to certain kinds of movie talkers, I’m basically having to give them the benefit of the doubt that they’re morons.

They did completely shut up when Tom loudly and sternly asked them to be quiet. So, luckily, we didn’t have to hear constant commentary of everything that happened in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo – and if you know anything about it, you know that the content is uncomfortable enough to watch without two idiots behaving as if nothing happens unless they repeat it verbally in their own words.

Once the movie was over, and it was time for everyone to leave, the two ladies stood up, and one of them knocked over their cup full of ice and beverage, and it spilled all over the carpet. Because, it just makes perfect sense that she would do that.