At noon last Sat, I went out to the peacock pen to feed my peacocks. When I walked into the pen, I saw a brown bird that looked like a chicken to my left. When it swiveled it’s head around, I saw that it was a Great Horned Owl, flapping against the wire mesh walls of the pen, trying to escape. I was able to get within a yard or two of it. Large gold eyes followed me, making direct eye contact, what a beautiful creature! I tried to figure out how to help it get out of the pen, but I was afraid if I tried to grab it, it might inflict serious injury, as it had formidable talons and a wicked beak.
I pondered how to get the owl out of the pen without grabbing him (I believe it was a male, because of its size - male Great Horned owls are smaller than females). I decided to open a large door on one side of the pen and I walked out as I talked to the bird, demonstrating that it was a passage way out. When I walked back over to the owl, he swooped across to the other side of the pen where the door was open and out he went.
Sadly, one of my peahens, mother to two adolescents, was face down in the grass, dead. I walked over to my dead peahen and discovered she had been decapitated and her head and neck eaten. I called a neighbor and learned that these owls can do this, even to large birds. I was not aware that an owl could be a predator to a bird as large as a peacock. I noticed one of my maie peacocks had a clump of feathers missing from his neck, so I think the owl tried to catch him as well, but he escaped. (Owl’s kill by crushing with the grip of their feet and talons). Mama peahen probably got in between him and her youngsters to protect them and put herself in the line of fire. My neighbor told me to pick up some crow or hawk decoys to put on top of the pen to deter them.
I buried my peahen out behind the barn and planted an old fashioned apple tree sapling over her.
That evening as I was thinking about the event, a dream I had the night before came back to me. In the dream I was looking out my window at my Catalpa tree, as it was getting darker outside, maybe around dusk. I noticed a Pileated woodpecker on a branch in the tree. As I looked at it I noticed there were more, maybe 4 all together. This seemed unusual. In the dream I excitedly pointed them out to a friend who was visiting me. As I continued looking, a Great Horned Owl swooped in to the shadows, under the canopy of the tree. This was most unusual as well, as I have never seen this before.
I don’t recall ever dreaming about a Great Horned owl before, and I dreamt this on the same night the owl was in the pen.