The Owl Who Wanted to Be A Real Boy–I Mean Owl

In our never-ending quest to discourage the local woodpecker gang from slowly turning our home into swiss cheese, we ordered a fairly realistic plastic owl to stand guard and hopefully fool the wood**ckers into thinking that they are being watched by a terrifying predator.

This life-sized plastic owl has motion and sound sensors, and when it detects movement or sound nearby it hoots repeatedly and rotates its head to peer in the direction of whatever it senses.

So far, the woodpeckers are not terribly impressed.  The owl has perched mute during the day as the hoodlums fly about.  They don’t go too near it, or anyway not near enough to set it off, but I don’t think they’re exactly scared.  Cautious, perhaps.

The owl apparently has other ideas.  It seems to want friends.  For several nights in a row, we have heard a wild owl trading hoots with the plastic owl.  I am not kidding!  We haven’t heard an owl for a long, long time, so I have no doubt that the realistic hooting attracted the real thing.  On one particular night, we heard two real owls alternating hoots with each other and the mechanical owl, which was quite entertaining.

The plastic owl is embarrassingly limited in vocabulary, being equipped with only one short hoot sequence to say over and over and over.  My daughter Tasha commented on the comic potential of the situation when I told her about it and imagined a rather one-sided hoot-versation:

Plastic Owl: “Hey!”

Wild Owl: “Hey!”

Plastic Owl:  “Hey!”

Wild Owl:  “What’s up?”

Plastic Owl:  “Hey!”

Wild Owl:  “Hey?”

Plastic Owl:  “Hey!”

Wild Owl:  “Dude, we said hello.”

Plastic Owl:  “Hey!”

Wild Owl: “Seriously, wtf is wrong with this guy!?”

Poor plastic owl.  He apparently needs to learn some life lessons or something before he can become a real owl. However, even though he pretty much sucks at scaring wood*?#!$!%!!’s, I might keep him around just to encourage the wild owls.  Perhaps having *actual* owls zooming about will make the rotten woodpeckers want to move on.


  1. BB:

    You guys are a riot. I want to know if the plastic owl hooted first.

  2. Holly:

    I’m pretty sure he did, but you might want to ask him next time you visit. ;)

  3. Michael O:

    We’ve had the same results with a plastic blue heron who is supposed to intimidate real ones from eating our goldfish. The real ones think the plastic one is a wimp and keep on trolling.

  4. LaSara:

    The owl dialogue was funny as hell! Made me laugh out loud. Thanks!


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