Dead owl yet another tragic example of society’s overuse of potent chemicals

Poisons are sprayed, dispersed, and otherwise cast about almost willy-nilly, everywhere, in our era, and wildlife – including owls – are paying the price. (International Owl Center photo)

Got an email from my son the other night that carries a deep lesson for all of us who care about the land and its wild creatures:

“Sad news.

“I learned last night from (wife) Caroline that a neighbor found our ‘neighborhood’ great horned owl dead in their yard – their dog brought it to their doorstep. The owl died from eating a mouse that had been poisoned. The mouse likely consumed the poison inside a house and was outside in the yard when the owl caught and consumed it.  NC (North Carolina) Fish & Game confirmed the cause of death – the owl had internal bleeding from mouse and poison.”

Yes, the kids live in North Carolina, but the incident is universal in this age of “better living through chemistry.” It easily could be anywhere in Ohio, or anywhere else worldwide. Poisons of many stripes – and an unmanageable array of profligately used, poorly-if-ever-tested toxic chemicals – are sold with high-tech marketing and used without care or concern – because profiteers tell us so. We can spray Roundup anywhere we want nowadays – it is as available as bottled water.

“It’s a real bummer for me,” said son Andy. “I really enjoyed hearing the owl hoot at me when I came home from work or when we were outside on the back deck around dusk. I know there may be others around because I’ve heard multiple owls hooting at once and sure hope there is one that takes up residence again here soon.”

Yeah, here’s hoping, Sonnyboy.

Poisons are sprayed, dispersed, and otherwise cast about almost willy-nilly, everywhere in our era. Consider alone the herbicides and insecticides we deploy by the ton to guard crop-yields of industrial agriculture, if not public health. Wild creatures and wild plant communities pay the price. Andy’s neighborhood owl is just one example.

Think “mosquito control.” Neighborhood fogging in summertime in urban communities is taken as a given, but totally ignored is the price paid in natural communities. Take a close look after foggings: A lot more insects, from butterflies to beetles – important ones for nature’s and our survival – are wiped out in the killing mists.

So yeah, what’s one dead great horned owl, killed by a poisoned mouse? Ah, not much. But it is everything. One day the piper will demand to be paid.

Categories: Ohio – Steve Pollick

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