Sunday, September 20, 2009

Mom Takes Owl to Show and Tell Without a Permit

The most exciting thing that happened to us this week was finding a dead Great Horned Owl on the road. Well, we didn't actually find him, Alana did. She sent me a text message that said "I found a dead owl on the road, do you want it?" I sent her a message back: "Yeah!". So we met at Jerami's and I got the dead owl out of her trunk.

It was lying on it's back with it's wings spread out. It was such a beautiful specimen, if you didn't look at it's head. We think it might have been hit by a car. The neck appeared to be broken and the head was kind of smashed. One eye had been pecked out (probably by ravens) and the other looked like an ogre sucked the jelly out of it. There was some dried blood on the head and just a little on one of the wings. But if you ignored the head and just looked at the wings, it was an incredible creature.

I took it home and showed the boys when they got home from school. At first they were not very impressed. They barely gave it a second glance. The next day I took it to Chris' class and asked his teacher if she wanted to see it. She was absolutely thrilled and asked me to bring it into the library. I spread it out on the lid of my tote for the second graders to see. Most of them were duly impressed and there were only a few "ews". Some of the children touched it's leathery feet and long talons while Ms. Boone said "Can you imagine being a mouse being carried away inside that foot?" While the kids crowded around to admire the beautiful feathers, Chris gave me a hug and said "Thanks, Mom." Then I took it to Riley's school and showed his class. Riley's teacher from last year is really into science so I showed her class, too.

Next, I had to figure out what to do with the owl. I wanted to have it stuffed and mounted but Matt informed me there might be laws making it illegal to possess an owl. So I called every scientist in town that I know but kept getting voice mail. Finally, someone called back and told me I needed a permit to show him around and then I needed to turn him over to Fish and Wildlife. I had already taken him to show and tell without a permit. It was kind of exciting to think I had broken the law! I could just see the headlines: "Homer Mom Imprisoned for Illegally Showing Dead Owl to School Kids". I secretly hoped that I could served my sentence in the same prison condominium where Martha Stewart and Paris Hilton stayed, instead of getting thrown in with the hardened criminals.

I brought it to the wildlife refuge research center here in town and the bird expert took the owl from me. I confessed I had taken it to two schools and she said "That's okay. Thanks for turning it in." That was it. The anticlimactic ending. I didn't get so much as a slap on the hand or a fine. It was really cool to have been able to see such a magnificent animal up close like that. I do kind of miss it and wish that I could have had a skilled taxidermist restore it to a fraction of it's previous glory to keep in my home. After it gets tagged and registered, it will be turned over to our local museum. I forgot to take pictures of it so I uploaded some photos from the Internet for the blog. I wonder what manner of creature will wander into our yard next week, perhaps a porcupine?


Kelshel said...

it's like the time i skipped a class in high school (the one and only time) and the teacher didn't even notice I was gone. I stayed up all night freaked out and then NOTHING even happened. I couldn't even get into trouble if I tried.

My kids were disappointed you didn't have a picture of the actual owl.

Fuson's in Alaska said...

Already getting ideas.....for Christmas..just kidding!!! You rebel you!!!

Stevens Family said...

That's just awesome! You are such a rebel, LOL!! JK. How great that you were able to show him off a bit before turning him over to the experts. Very cool.