Ellie B and I are the only ones who give a hoot

Walking with Ellie B aka Dogamous Pyle through a winter snow in our Syracuse city neighborhood of Eastwood’s nearby Norwood Park, we noticed something sitting on a backyard post just past a fence separating us and it.

There's snow to navigate on a winter's walk to see what's ahead.

There’s snow to navigate on a winter’s walk to see what’s ahead.

I pulled Ellie B through the snow to the fence to better see the bird. Ellie B pulled me through the snow to the fence to better see the bird.

An owl behind the fence!

An owl behind the fence!

At the fence, I peered through the links and thought I spotted an owl. I excitedly told Ellie B that there sat an owl. She was excited. Ellie B is always excited when we take our walks.

Big eyes?

Big eyes?

I shushed Ellie B and pulled her around for a better look. I peered straight into that owl’s eyes. I clapped my hands. Ellie B barked in reply. Nothing.

Decoy.

I wonder if it’s merely a lawn ornament, or if these folks are trying to scare the squirrels away.

Have you ever been fooled by a faux animal in winter, and if so, what species? Have you ever seen a live owl in the wild, and if so, where and what season? What ornaments do you put on your lawn?

90 thoughts on “Ellie B and I are the only ones who give a hoot

  1. I got all excited, and not a little jealous, when I saw this. I am obsessed with owls, Mark, stay tuned for an upcoming blog post on the subject….and I only hear mine hoot-hooting in the deep woods at night. Have yet to see him. Thank you!!

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  2. first things first–you have far more snow than we do here in the midwest. Hmmmm…. You’re getting beaten on ๐Ÿ˜ฆ Though hurrah that you are taking these winter talks with Man’s Best Friend. Funny about the owl. It’s the little things like that which, put together, make a day worthwhile.

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    • Yes, Liz, this morning we awoke to another 8 to 10 inches of fresh white. I shoveled from 7:30 to 8:30. Ouch indeed.

      I love my Ellie B aka Dogamous Pyle walks when its about 20-25 at least. Little things indeed. ๐Ÿ™‚

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  3. I use to put wooden birdhouses in my trees for decoration. Then the wasps put up “sold” signs in front and moved in and took permanent residence. I got rid of the birdhouses but I still can’t get rid of the wasps. They keep coming back!

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  4. Someone in my naib has a decoy deer that still fools me. This, after 13 years. It’s humiliating. Owls are nocturnal. Despite that fact, there were snowy owls spotted in New Jersey last winter. I saw one myself! They consider it an anomaly due to last year’s polar vortex.

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    • Yeah, I should have known that it was daytime, Mark, but my schooling and National Geo learning escaped me in my naked excitement.

      Polar vortex brings a snowy owl to Jersey. Is that good or bad?

      A decoy deer is very drastic, in my book. For decorative purposes?

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  5. I did a post awhile back on the various owls we saw at a Natural Science Center. The mating call of the barred owl is “Who Cooks For You?” Weird, right? I have been fooled by decoys before and always felt gullible afterward. There are big businesses along the highway that have sets of fake longhorns that fool me every time. I’m like, “Look at those cool longhorns over there…that aren’t moving. Nevermind.” So I’m sure your owl would have fooled me, too.

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  6. Lots of owls, crows, and hawks in my area. We have a mockingbird that is scaring away my goldfinch but I think the mockingbird is past the stage of being scared away by a decoy. He’s about to have something in common with a movie named in his honor.

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  7. I remember seeing an owl on top of a lightpost last year – I did a double take and thought at first it was fake until people around me stopped and started to point at it too. Yup, it was real! Cool you got a photo here to show us too ๐Ÿ™‚

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  8. what a surprise! i thought it was real too. i’ve seen an injured one who lives in a rescue shelter but have never seen a real one in the wild. i love how you both see these things on your walks around the neighborhood.

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  9. Hi there Mark,
    I just saw a great and very interesting documentary on tv about Hunter S Thompson, is he very famous over there?
    It was very fascinating and made me want to read more about him!
    Hope all is well and have a nice sunday! ( with the owl! )
    /a

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  10. Last year as I drove down my street I saw an owl sitting on a neighbor’s lawn, I decided to back up to take a picture and of course it flew away. I was so excited when I saw it and couldn’t believe my eyes.

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  11. My neighbor has the same bird. She sits in on the roof of her car, because her driveway is shaded and she was tired of birds in the branches speckling her paint job with their droppings. According to her, the plastic owl keeps them away.

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  12. saw an owl once – in the wild that is – we were driving on a country road and there was a flask of white that swooped infront of us. A barn owl. Beautiful but gone in a moment.

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  13. I once saw an actual snowy owl from my balcony in downtown Calgary – I was elated Mark! I don’t recall ever being fooled by a faux animal, but two Christmases ago, I was totally duped by a fake flower in my mom’s flower bed protruding out of the snow. I said, “Mom, there’s a flower in your garden!” She laughed and laughed. ๐Ÿ˜‰ 1 for mom, 0 for Diana!
    Diana xo

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  14. Okay, so first of all, awesome, I would have been fooled too, but check this out…I was going for a job interview in the Hollywood Hills. It was an office in someone’s house and it was one of those dealies where they listed a couple of addresses on the front and then you had to look for the one you actually needed, like it said 2004-2008 on the front and I needed 2007. So I went navigating. One of the houses had all these fake animals like rats and cats and snakes…so I stepped over the snake to see if I had the right address when the snake lifted it’s head! I was so scared, I had to call my interviewers and ask them to meet me outside and guide me to the right house. (The one with the snake was not it, and, no, I did not get the job!!)

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  15. You got me, Mark! I really thought you saw a black owl! Is there even a black owl? LOL Of course Ellie B would pull you through the snow. That is a dog being just that, a dog. Have a great Sunday, my cousin to the east! Love, Amy

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  16. I’ve seen several decoy owls and even coyotes, Mark, to scare other animals away. I’m almost always fooled, initially. Maybe that’s because I yearn to see real wildlife!

    I give a hoot, too, BTW.

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  17. Hehe. Grace and I once avoided a lovely pond we found in our travels because a rather large dog was standing on the dock. We gave the dog a very wide buffer zone as we went into the race car garage we were there to visit. (We were picking up some donations of prizes for Relay For Life.) In the garage, they told us that the dog was plastic. ๐Ÿ™‚ We felt kind of silly, but we did get to walk around the pond…and pet some very sweet donkeys. ๐Ÿ˜€

    I’m sorry your owl wasn’t a real one. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

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  18. One of the houses down the street has a statue of a golden retriever in their front yard. Why would someone do that? It looks so lifelike, that I always forget and go “Puppy!” when we are driving past (only to get the withering look from my husband)

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    • I really wonder if it’s in tribute of a dog gone on to pet heaven, Kimi, which would be part nice, part sad, part … creepy. Are you sure it’s not taxidermy? In which case it would move into 100 percent last category. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

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      • I don’t think it’s taxidermy, because it’s sitting out in the elements. If it’s a tribute, that’s really sweet, but it’s so real looking, it’s a little odd. We have a fake owl at my mom-in-laws, to keep the birds from tapping on the windows.

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      • Ah, anti-bird tapper owl. That is great, Kimi. We have little birds here that always tap against the windows and side our of Little Bitty. I may need an owl, or maybe a pink flamingo for our side garden, if my dear wife Karen would approve of one or the other. ๐Ÿ™‚

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  19. That is so cool Mark – who would have guessed a decoy? It is neat that you and Ellie still take your walks in the winter. Good exercise.

    I used to truck for an American company out of a little town in way out rural Maine called Meddybemps, populatiion 157 -Yee Ha! Our terminal was there (it was built on the farm of the owner) and we had to drop by with paperwork and for trailer maintenance pretty much every trip. In order to get from the border of Canada to Meddybemps we had to travel on a small winding road through a Maine State Park. Now the park rangers there are used to dealing with backwoods poachers and armed men of all sorts and come armed themselves and with a bag of tricks up their sleeves.

    It is illegal to hunt in the park, illegal to hunt at night with lights, and illegal to shoot from any road. So the Rangers set up steel, motor controlled deer at the back edges of the clearings along the road, and then hide in the ditch on the far side. When poachers come along with big spot lights in the middle of the night, the Rangers use their remote control to make the deer bend over as if it is eating grass and the look directly at the poachers as if stunned by the light – the eyes were really well done and glittered like real ones. So the poachers would shoot at the deer, the bullet would ricochet, the Rangers would jump out of the ditch and arrest the poachers.

    So it became a standing joke around the office that if you happen to shoot at a deer and the bullet ricocheted, run like hell.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Holy cow, Paul, definitely be on the lookout for shiny deer! And bouncing bullets! That’s a great way to catch poachers, I think. Smart rangers up north. Thanks for sharing that story.

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