Saturday, January 28, 2006

Hawk-Owl Hullaballoo

Saturday, January 28, 2006
Once every few years, a northern hawk-owl shows up in the Northeast. This causes the expected stampede of birders and bird photographers. Wherever the bird appears regularly, the locals and landowners are forced to deal with obsessed birders, some of whom may have come from very far away in hopes of seeing this rarity from the northern woods.

And, we birders are willing to go to some extreme lengths to try to see a rare bird. This is why many of the hawk-owl chasers near Lydonville, New York have been showing up with pet store mice to use as bait for the hawk-owl. Now a pet store mouse, released on the snow in front of a hungry hawk-owl does not stand much of a chance. But, there are times when the owl does not catch, kill, and consume these heartfelt offerings from eager birders. And the local resident humans want to know WHERE ARE THESE ESCAPED MICE GOING? ARE THEY INVADING OUR HOMES?

"Hide the cheese, Mother, those bird watchers is back trying to feed our owl!"

Read this piece in The Houston Chronicle for the whole absurd story.