[Tweeters] Death of a Barn Owl

Robert Gray robertgary02 at aol.com
Thu Jan 28 10:04:49 PST 2021

I have found several Barn Owl corpses in the last few years. I fear that the birds are eating rats that have been poisoned by the types of rat traps we see around commercial establishments. The rat that does not die but is suffering severe nerve damage is easy prey for the owls and hawks who then become poisoned themselves. Two of the dead Owls I have seen were on the side of the road and I have theorized they were hit by vehicles they would normally have avoided had they not been sickened by the poisoned rats. These rat traps are everywhere including around Magnuson Park. In addition to this, people are intentionally poisoning Douglas Squirrels that nest in buildings. I know this for a fact.

-----Original Message-----
From: Jennifer Hammer <jphammer68 at gmail.com>
To: tweeters at u.washington.edu
Sent: Tue, Jan 26, 2021 11:43 pm
Subject: [Tweeters] Death of a Barn Owl

Hello Tweeters,

Last Friday afternoon (1/22), I was walking in the meadows at Magnuson Park and found a dead barn owl lying on the grass. It was clean and fluffy, had no obvious signs of injury,  no rigor mortis, though the eyes were cloudy. It had leaves still clutched in its talons, a very beautiful bird.
I didn’t know if I should do anything with the body, but I moved it to the base of a nearby tree and covered it with pine and cedar, hoping that would keep a passing dog from grabbing it.

I’ve observed a barn owl at dusk standing in the doorway of the owl box in a tree near the community center in recent weeks, wondering if this was the same one.

I’m a new subscriber to Tweeters, as I wanted to pass along this sad news to the community. I have very much appreciated learning from fellow birders' posts for the past couple years. Thank you!

Jennifer Hammer
Seattle, WA

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