I got an e-mail today from a woman who asked me if I had heard of the Scenic Drive Owl. She said she had many stories about it. I called her, got the address, plus lots of stories. On my way to Selah this afternoon, I stopped by the house where the owl hangs out. Fortunately, the woman who lives there was working in the yard and she showed me her owl, whose name is Harry. Harry is a Great Horned Owl.
In August of 2002, this Great Horned Owl showed up in the yard. It stayed on the ground for the first week or so. Mrs. Murphy suspected it was a juvenile owl. Shortly after it arrived, Mrs. Murphy's daughter was sitting at the picnic table. Her mother called her into the house but she said she couldn't come because she had a problem. The owl was sitting on her arm. Mrs. Murphy found a piece of liver in the refrigerator, tossed it on the picnic table and the owl pounced on it. After that, they called Connie Hughes, who stopped by to try to catch the owl but failed. For a month or so, they fed Harry raw meat but after that he (or she) wasn't interested in eating it, so they was suspected that he was providing for himself.
Harry sleeps in one of the large evergreen trees in the yard during the day and wakes up an hour or so before dusk. He will follow Mrs. Murphy on walks on Scenic Drive, perching on telephone poles along the way. He frequently perches on the railings of their deck and the railings of the Deatley house, which is that new, huge mansion on Scenic Drive. Harry also hangs out occasionally on other neighbors deck railings. On Halloween, he perched on the backboard of the basketball hoop in the driveway and watched the trick-or-treaters walk down the driveway. At Christmas, the Murphys built a bonfire and were singing Christmas carols. Harry perched on the lighted reindeer nearby. When they got to the fa lala, fa lala, etc, of one song, he hooted in time with the music, on every verse! He has become part of the family. He disappeared for a month last spring and Mrs. Murphy was very disappointed. I told her that one of these early springs, he will probably decide it is time for romance and they won't see him again.
When we were standing in the yard looking at Harry, with Mrs. Murphy telling me all about him, he hooted. She said, "Hi Harry. It's alright." He went back to sleep. Mrs. Murphy said he will hoot at her until she talks to him.
Some of the neighbor's aren't too cracked up about this owl. Many of them have small dogs, which Great Horned Owls have been known to grab. They also are upset about the mess he makes on their decks.
This is one of the "strange but true" stories about our interactions with birds.
* Denny Granstrand *
* Yakima, WA *
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