Owl and Deer

Boyce Mayview Park

Upper Saint Clair

January 2016

Minding our own business, taking a comfortable day hike on the snow-covered trails, we are still remarking to each other about the wonder of the owl.  Specifically the barred owl that seems to have taken up in the crook of a sycamore tree.  I believe that it was dozing as I took my two dozen or so photographs.

This area is just what owls like, with its creek and wetlands mixed with gentle hills and diverse plant and wildlife.

We spend much of the time on this hike looking up at the high branches, hoping we might spy the even larger owl that’s rumored to live here.  On our trail back to the car, I stop short and turn around to Lisa.  She gets excited, expecting that my sudden stop is due to another owl sighting.  Alas, what I see is not an owl, but a deer.  A dead deer.  Lisa shields her eyes when we pass roadkill on the highway and I don’t want her to stumble upon this deer by surprise.

It is lying right on the trail.  Closer inspection on my part reveals a hole in its side and part of its hind end apparently carved away.  Strange sight, as there is no blood, no trailing sinew, very little fur scattered in the area, as if the animal was shot, perversely gutted and dumped here.

Lisa steels herself and walks past the corpse and we continue on.

Once home, I call the location.  Here’s how that call goes…

me:  “I just want to let you know that we were out hiking this morning in your area when we came upon a dead dear lying right on the trail.  Not a pretty sight for the kiddies.”

the guy:  “Okay, thanks.  I’ll let them know.”

me:  “Um, do you want to know where it is?”

the guy:  “Okay.”

me:  “It’s right at the junction of the Beech Valley and Sycamore View Trails.  We warned off some other hikers who had their dog with them.”

the guy:  “Okay.  I’ll let them know.  Bye.”

Well, anyway, Lisa and I were excited.  I figure that, had he seen the owl, he would be more excited too.

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