Failing Zoology…again


The owl next door

One morning I let the dog out in the backyard. As I was impatiently waiting for him to do his business, I noticed an owl sitting on the corner of my next-door neighbor’s home.

I quickly ran inside and grabbed the girls. “Hurry! There is a huge owl outside. Come look quick! It is so rare to see them during the day! Shhh…be quiet so you don’t scare him away.”

Three nature explorers stood in the backyard admiring the owl, who was proudly perched on a short pole. We whispered our observations so we wouldn’t scare him away. We came to the conclusion he was sleeping. Full of awe at the wonder of nature, we tiptoed back inside. I figured my neighbors, who are retired and garden daily, had seen it already.

The explorers in us

The next day my girls informed me the owl was still there in the same spot. Not knowing anything about owls, I had to guess it was a mommy owl protecting her nest. What a wonderful opportunity for a science/nature lesson in our own backyard.

The scientific observations continued for 5 days as we admired the beauty of this magnificent creature and formed hypotheses on why it decided to make a home there and not in a tree. I intended to do more research but forgot.

Unnatural occurrances

Day six…
A thunderstorm was fast approaching and the wind was picking up. Trying to beat the inevitable downpour, I sent the dog out in the yard as usual. I was staring at the owl when I noticed something unnatural.

A strong wind gust caused the pole and the owl to bend forward…together…at a forty-five degree angle, and the owl didn’t flinch. It was only then that I realized it was a plastic owl. Suddenly I saw the unnatural shine of his feathers glistening in the sunlight. How did I not notice that before?

The news sent my oldest daughter into a hysterical fit of laughter. A trip to the hospital was looking inevitable as she wasn’t breathing and tears were streaming down her face.

My neighbor

A week later I ran into my neighbor and explained how we thought the owl was real. I told him it was a good thing I hadn’t run into him earlier or I would have embarrassed myself by excitedly announcing, “Hey! Did you see that amazing owl on your roof?” He was amused at the story and said the only thing it seemed to have scared was us, not the animals in his attic.

He mentioned the owl was for sale if I was interested. It was tempting, but I passed on the offer only because that would require climbing on the roof to install it.

I am not an animal expert

However, if I were to become a vet, I would specialize in plastic animals. The only tools required would be a hot glue gun and some paint, and there is no blood. If my neighbor’s owl ever had the misfortune of falling off the roof and suffering an injury, I would rush to save it.

As a B.S. Economics major, I was required to take Zoology. I know it doesn’t make sense. I failed the first time due to my inability to identify the dissected animals in lab.

I feel like I failed Zoology all over again.


  1. I have to admit something similar happened to me, a house down the road had a kestrel sitting on their garage roof for days then I realised it was plastic and was put there to scare the seagulls, suffice to say it’s not really working 😉
    karen recently posted..Avatar Hits The Big Screen Again As a Special Edition!My Profile

    • I was embarrassed by the production I made out of studying what turned out to be plastic. lol They look so real, but I haven’t heard of any of these things scaring away other creatures. Guess the birds and raccoons know the difference between real and plastic.

  2. OMG! That is hysterical. Is it too teenager to write “PIMP”? (cause it almost happened!) Melinda, I am loving your writing and your take on finding the humor in life. It’s fabulous!!! Keep them coming!! Not too quickly, I still have a lot to catch up on 😉
    Jessica Sieghart recently posted..All Questions Are Not Created EqualMy Profile

  3. Over here again for my daily dose of humour. Too funny Melinda. 🙂
    When I was living and working in the UK I saw a lot of barn owls…..the real ones not plastic lol
    I love them. So cute and not something I see here in Perth. Looking forward to your next post.
    Keep the post coming. You brighten up my day and I am sure heaps of others too with your brilliant writing skills.
    Patricia Perth Australia
    Patricia recently posted..Lavender- Is it an endangered speciesMy Profile

  4. From a distance, there are times I cannot distinguish an unmoving animal if it is real or plastic. Your story has really put a smile to my face! I look forward to your upcoming posts. Take care!
    Felicia recently posted..Poker player spitted dealer in the faceMy Profile

  5. Melinda, I’ve pretty much resigned myself to the idea that these things are going to keep happening for the rest of my life. I suspect you’ve done the same. They make good stories, though, and that’s the consolation, because other people love to hear about what idiots we are. (That was the consolation, that last part.)
    Charles Gulotta recently posted..Do You See What I SeeMy Profile

  6. Allan Douglas

    As soon as I can breathe normally again I have to go pick up my wife, otherwise I’d go on and on. That was GREAT!