|Muscovy Duck (Domestic)|
|Mute Swan and goslings|
On our way back towards the cars, Alison, one of our group leaders, found a dead Great Horned Owl! At first I was quite confused thinking she had found an owl pellet and didn't figure it out until I could see the owl. While in actuality he was a quite large owl, his stiff body and rumpled feathers seemed diminished compared to the Great Horned Owls of Houghton Gardens. While the spark that gave this owl life was gone, up close you could truly appreciate his massive talons and heavy beak. The rumpled feathers revealed his downy under coat to be a rich auburn and the feathers of his ear tufts seemed so wispy and fragile. We all wanted to think that he was an old man of forest and had peacefully died in his sleep and slipped off his White Pine. We quickly tried to alert those who might be interested in a dead owl, but on a Saturday it took a couple of hours to find a home for him at Harvard's Museum of Comparative Zoology who arranged to collect the owl. While it was sad to to think that this powerful predator will no longer grace our forests with his silent flight and haunting calls, I hope that he may yet be able to contribute to science and conservation.