Great Horned Owl at Maine Wildlife ParkLast night was cloudless, a full moon lighting the yard with an eerie glow. As I was falling asleep I heard the “who-who, who-who” of a great horned owl.

As I listened to the owl’s lonely call, thoughts started turning in my mind.

Earlier in the day, Ginger the dog discovered a rat scurrying outside the chicken coop. Yes – a rat.  Eeeewwww.

Me being me, I sent Hannah into the house for my camera as I decided what to do. The rat scurried out into the middle of the yard and sat there wheezing. I followed it and then there was a standoff. This rat was either rabid or dying. I found an empty kitty litter bucket, carefully approached the rat and put the bucket upside down over the rat, trapping it. I tried not to look like a wimp in front of my daughter, but to be honest I was ready to bolt if the rat launched at me. I was so relieved when it was under cover – I think I did a little dance.

Hannah asked, “What are we going to do with it now?”

You never know, that rat might try to make a break for it!

I told her, “We are waiting for daddy.”

I got the picture, but frankly, I’m too grossed out by it to post it. Instead, you get the “after” shot.

So as I was trying to fall asleep last night I wondered about how one gets rid of rats by the chicken coop? Poisons and traps came to mind. Then I heard “who-who, who-who.”

First thing, this morning I did my research (the fact that I didn’t go get the laptop and Google “chickens” and “rats” right then is a testament to how tired I was). While rats are not a favorite of the great horned owl, they are on the menu. A little more research showed me that great horned owls like to nest in discarded hawk nests.

Add an owl nest to the “honey do” list.