The Chimney and the Barn Owl…

January 31, 2011

pests, water problems, winter

…not a very good combination. šŸ™

Do you hear that tinkling sound, the sounds of shards of glass falling to the cold, concrete floor? That’s my heart, busted into little bitty pieces. šŸ™ A beautiful barn owl died in my chimney’s water tank duct last week.

It started late in the evening. I was upstairs, and the kids were eating dinner downstairs. Suddenly, a huge crash was heard in the first floor, or in the basement. The kids called me down to investigate.

We figured the sound was coming from the basement. This has been ONE heck of a winter, I tell ya. Deer eating everything, possums and raccoons are squirrels nesting in the house walls, the basement… ice dams the size of Goliath dripping down into the garage and inside the walls… *sigh* It’s not a happy year for home ownership.

So I expected the intruder to be a squirrel. We have a lot of squirrels, and they all seem determined to make my life as miserable as possible. They nest in the walls, loudly scratching and squeaking all night…

I had no idea if this squirrel was rabid. I was a little afraid of the what-ever-it-is in the ducting.

owl2

I took a stick and banged on the duct. The thing squirmed and scratched. We wondered if it was a bird or a squirrel. It scratched like a squirrel, but it wasn’t as rough. Those of you lucky folks who have had squirrels nesting in the walls, you know what I mean when I say “sounds like a squirrel.” They have this unmistakable (read: ANNOYING) sound. But if it was a bird, why didn’t it fly back up through the chimney?And it was 10pm, what bird in its right mind would be flapping around the roof this late??

OK, I admit, NO, we DON’T have a chimney cap. Oh I know we should. The previous owners did us the honor of fixing the chimney (complete with lightning rod, the old pastor who lived her was deathly afraid if lightning), but never installed a cap, and never lined the chimney. So it’s a wide-open gaping hole for nasty squirrels and their riffraff.We haven’t had any problems with the chimney (that I know of) until now.

Anyway, the thing wouldn’t come out. I rapped on the duct a few times, but couldn’t drive the critter out. I tried to lift the ducting just a little, and when I did, I felt something furry at the end. EEK!!! I was now too terrified of lifting the ducting and having a live squirrel jumping out at me. I did what any respectable wife would do in such a circumstance: I’d wait for the husband to get home.

By the time he got home from work, it was very late and he was exhausted. I supposed the critter would have to wait until morning. Hopefully, he’d come out by then. The critter. Oh, and the husband, yeah.

Well, we went down next day, and I rapped on the pipe, hoping the scratching would cease. No scratching! The critter must have escaped! But the pipe made a dull *thud*. Oh no. It’s probably dead. Ugh. The Hubs geared up in his special superduperheavtyduty latex gloves (squirrels have sharp teeth, you know), and he lifted the ducting.

owl1

owl4

I thought it was a squirrel.

He pulled it out and we both stared for a minute. I didn’t see the little squirrely ears. What happened to its head?!??!!?

Then it hit me. It’s a bird. Oh, Lord. I thought maybe it was an osprey, as we have some around here. The Hubs exclaimed, “It’s an owl!”

owl5

owl6

I almost cried. That poor, poor owl. A squirrel would have deserved such a fate, but an owl?! Owls are good, gentle creatures. They don’t bare their sharp little teeth and maniacally chatter at me from the trees. Owls don’t steal the bird seed that I leave for the cardinals. That poor, poor owl! I was crushed. I regretted rapping on the duct. Maybe I killed him!! But then, maybe the fumes from the hot water tank overcame him.Wah!!!

So, a poor owl is dead. Wah. And we have to cap our chimney, pronto.

It will be a busy spring for me. The ice dams in the house are causing terrible leaks. We may need to repair the roof and do some interior repair work. What a winter. I can’t wait til it’s over!

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9 Responses to “The Chimney and the Barn Owl…”

  1. blueyes Says:

    poor barn owl šŸ™

    I know about the squirrels and mice in the walls, damn things drive me insane. Poison works every time though. You’d think they learn.

  2. Secondary Roads Says:

    That is so sad. Ready for spring? The BIG storm is heading our way. Get ready . . .

  3. Mrs. Mecomber Says:

    Right you are! Kill ’em, that’ll teach ’em! LOL šŸ˜‰ hee hee

  4. Mrs. Mecomber Says:

    I AM READY FOR SPRING. Although… I don’t like spring. It rains too much and everything floods. šŸ™ I am doomed– there’s no season I like perfectly! Wah!

  5. Carole Says:

    That was very sad. šŸ™ I love owls too – so beautiful… Hopefully no more creatures will venture down there until you can get a cap on. šŸ™ Who would have thought it would be an owl? šŸ™

  6. Marg Says:

    That really is too bad. Wonder why the owl wanted to go down the chimney. I think that is unusual, isn’t it?? At least I have never heard of it before. But it really is too bad. Take care and have a great Wedneday.

  7. Karen Says:

    Oh, that is so sad. Too bad he made a wrong turn.

  8. Rena Says:

    Awww poor thing. Well at least he didn’t have to suffer too long.

  9. Bob Says:

    Looks like an Eastern screech owl, not a Barn owl. Sorry to see it died.
    Bob