The days have been dark and gloomy recently, which means I've gone on several walks in the rain. And each time I come home drenched and muddy. It just adds more to the thrill and mood of my adventures, right? Everything is so green and covered in tiny water jewels. It's magic.
I went for a little hike with my instagram buddy Emily last week. While out on the trail, deep in the forest, she alerted me to "a dead thing" laying on the ground. On closer inspection, I discovered that it was a most beautiful, beautiful great horned owl. It was so sad and so tragic. I took a few photos, admiring it's gorgeous feathers and big tufted feet. Owls remind me of my cat Klaus. He's very owlish with his big golden eyes and enormous tufted toes.
After the walk, I reported the owl to the rangers at Lake Roland. They seemed very interested and said they would try to collect the owl that morning. They suggested several possible scenarios for it's death... maybe it was hit by a car and managed to fly into the woods or maybe it was attacked by crows or eagles. I suggested poison. I checked in with the rangers a few days later and they hadn't found an obvious cause of death, but there was one unusual discovery... the owl's talon was hooked into it's wing (you can see it if you look closely at the photos). They're not sure what this means, if it just happened during the throes of death or if maybe it was being chased by another territorial bird and got tangled in it's own wings.
I've been so sad about the loss of this bird. I'm consoling myself with the news that the park hired a professional taxidermist to preserve the great horned owl. It will be displayed on a stand and stored on a shelf for everyone to study and see.