Aries works in Facilities Maintenance for a big South Lake Tahoe casino. Last year, he was up on the roof doing some repairs and had to remove a couple of big 15" plastic owls someone had put up there years ago to deter pigeons. The boss told him to toss them out, so, of course he brought them home for our garden. The paint has weathered, and the plastic eyes are scratched and faded, but they have that distinctive horned owl silhouette. They don't really work very well on the wild birds, but the chickens give them a wide berth, especially right after I've moved them to a new location. I use them more like garden art pieces. One, I've had perched on top of a bean teepee framework since September.
Lately, in the evenings, Aries has been cleaning up the garden and gathering the leaves as they fall, adding to our compost pile between the chicken pen and the garden. Yesterday, it was almost dark as I walked down to the chicken coop to close it up for the night. I've been letting the chickens out in the afternoons to roam about our entire fenced-in lot, so their gate was propped open too.
As I walked down there, I could see that Aries had moved that plastic owl to the gate post of the chicken pen. "Oh, I'm sure the chickens appreciate that," I was thinking as I walked down there. Then, it swiveled its head and looked at me! I stopped dead in my tracks, then looked over at the bean teepee still standing in the empty garden. The plastic owl was still there. I went back up to the house, making Aries follow me back out. He thought I was trying to fool him with the plastic owl too. When we got a bit too close, the very real, great horned owl took off across the field to the south. Owls fly so quietly - none of that flappy flappy stuff - just stretch out their wings and silently glide away. Spooky!