November 14, 2005

Owl with a 6-foot wingspan.

It was headed toward extinction but it's back (in England) -- the eagle owl:



Will you still love it when it snacks on your cat or dog?

22 comments:

Icepick said...

I won't love it if it snacks on my cats. I will be damned impressed though, since it would have to cross the Atlantic to do so. But is there any word on how they would do against Nile Monitor Lizards?

Eli Blake said...

Every year, millions of unwanted cats and dogs are euthanized. And that's not even counting the puppies that people leave on the side of the road, where 99% get hit by cars, become coyote food or freeze or starve (the other 1% survive by joining packs of wild dogs and eventually get shot by ranchers when they threaten livestock, or shot by sheriff's deputies when they threaten people).

It is now against the law in a lot of places to kill unwanted litters of animals, which leads to more abandoned animals. And shelters are packed to the seams.

If they can do some good as owl food, then that is an improvement.

And-- in my opinion, anyone (other than professional breeders or people who invest in an animal and have pedigree charts) who does not spay/neuter their pet is a jerk (I'd say what I really think about them but I don't want to use that kind of language on Ann's blog).

DaveG said...

Cat? Yes. Dog? No.

My loyaties are thusly divided.

JBlog said...

Same debate we have around here regarding deer, which are not endangered.

The herd has become quite a hazard, but any talk of doing anything to thin it -- other than some of the whackjob solutions the animal rights nuts come up with ("Hey, why don't we distribute condoms to all the male deer?")-- is met with all kinds of whining and caterwauling about the inhumanity of hunting them.

Meanwhile, a good friend of mine totaled his truck a week ago when he plowed into a deer on a major highway at 65 mph. Fortunately, he walked away from the wreck.

Controlled hunting is an excellent means of reducing these accidents.

And the venison, incidentally, is delicious.

Tenebris said...

Deer, yes: remove natural predators from the cycle and the only options that remain are either a highly-effective food-based birth control (not condoms!) or replacing the original predators with a controlled hunt. Since in many cases urban areas have completely encircled and cut-off small wilderness areas containing ever-larger herds of deer, the type of hunt must also take into account urban safety issues.

Not doing either is not humane to the deer, especially such encirclement means that migration to alternate food sources is not a practical possibility ... unless, of course, you wish to further exacerbate already-existing conflicts between house owners and deer.

Doug said...

This is somewhat amusing, actually, because I recently met an Eagle Owl.

My wife and I were at The Homestead in Warm Spring, VA and went on a falconry excursion. One of the birds we met was a European Eagle Owl. The 6 foot wingspan is pretty amazing, especially when your standing next to it and it starts flapping the wings.

Ruth Anne Adams said...

How 'bout the feral cats?

Simon Kenton said...

When I lived in far-western Colorado, I had a cat which combined stupidity with malice. But it was ours and we were its. I guess. I put it out nightly and sent telepathic messages to the Great Horned Owls that were raising two adorable - until you looked into their eyes - owlets nearby. "Cat's good," I would project. "All the vitamins and minerals a baby owl needs."

Didn't work out; apparently I haven't the trans-specific knack with owls.

Jblog - same here. It's all in the intent. About 300 deer a year have to die here to hold the population constant. It would cost between $0.50 and $1.00 per deer, depending on whether you used premium ammo, to cull them. A little more with arrows or bolts, depending on whether it broke the arrow dying. Instead we cull them with automobiles, at a cost of about $2500 per deer, plus hospital bills in some cases. But, because we haven't the Intent to kill them, we retain our moral purity.

Julian Morrison said...

Personally I want wolves back, and boars. And then I want hunting back. Fox hunting may be traditional and all, but the worst a fox could do is nip your ankles something fierce. It's hardly a fair contest!

Reese Urcher said...

Actually, (although maybe not so much in this case) it's usually the other way around. Outdoor cats kill millions of birds a year.

And if you think the owl might take them away - this is another great reason all cats should be indoor cats!!

Eli Blake said...

Simon Kenton:

There is nothing intrinsically 'immoral' about hunting. If anything, modern hunting (with sighter scopes and ammunition designed to kill quickly) is far more humane than hunting has been throughout human history (when some of the methods used involved driving whole herds over cliffs, which incidentally is why horses, camels and mammoths became extinct in North America), along with spears, picks and methods which involved blinding an animal, or gashing it open and then following it for hours or for days until it gave out.

I have a problem with failing to protect endangered species, and hunting animals such as passenger pigeons and the Stellar's sea cow to extinction was wrong, but the people who pointed out that crude and destructive hunting of all the large predators in the nineteenth century caused a population explosion of deer, as well as jackrabbits and various other prey animals are right.

Of course, I do agree with environmentalists who point to this past as evidence that we should think things through before we go out and wantonly destroy God's creation.

Eli Blake said...

Julian:

What contest? Hunting is a sport, and for some people a means to get meat and other products. It is also, as we have been discussing a means of population control. As for wolves, the problem with re-introduction right now is that we have livestock grazing in almost all of the areas where they used to live, which means they often find cows easier prey than deer, and therefore get shot by ranchers (which I don't have a problem with ranchers defending their herds). Now, if I lived and made policy a hundred or a hundred and fifty years ago, I might ban cattle grazing from much of this land, but the 'sea of grass' and the natural state of things has long since been destroyed (I guess you can tell I live out west) so now we are stuck with a system that perpetuates itself. And banning cattle grazing now and giving time for the prarie and the natural forest to regrow is unrealistic, unless you want a McDonald's hamburger to cost $12.00 or something (what's that, make it out of wolf then?)

Unless you are hunting grizzly bears, the animal being hunted rarely attacks the hunter.

Paul said...

I'll especially love it when it eats my neighbors cats and dogs. I'll even do what I can to help it catch them.

Pastor_Jeff said...

Do they grow big enough to take down a deer?

Maybe two of them could carry it together on a strand of creeper, under the dorsal guiding feathers...

Undecided said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Undecided said...

"And-- in my opinion, anyone (other than professional breeders or people who invest in an animal and have pedigree charts) who does not spay/neuter their pet is a jerk (I'd say what I really think about them but I don't want to use that kind of language on Ann's blog)."

I'm tired of people telling me to neuter my dogs. I've had them for 11 years and I walk them on a leash. Please explain again to me why I have to pay a vet to cut their little balls off? Frequently male dogs without nuts become obese and lethargic and will end up having health problems resulting in BIG vet bills. Are YOU going to pay my BIG vet bill? So shut up! That goes for Bob Barker, too.

publicsector said...

YES I SAID YES YES I WILL YES!

I hate my cat.

Palladian said...

Beautiful owl. My God...

I'm CRAZY about owls. Really. And I love the word for baby owls: owlet.

Say it to someone you love tonight: owlet.

Owlet.

knoxgirl said...

Undecided, obviously, Bob Barker's (and Eli Blake's!) comments aren't directed at you, they're mostly directed at people who let their animals run around off the leash...

APF said...

O RLY?

Becker said...

I actually saw one of these a couple of years ago. It was very tasty.

tightsluva said...

i saw one of these in our garden in halifax west yorkshire. it was being harrassed by about 2 dozen crows