Monday, February 25, 2013


A hitman(male) or hitlady (female) is an assassin who is hired to kill another person or in my case a creature.  

The Mafia is notorious for having professional  human exterminators on speed dial. These days the private citizen has also sought out the services of hitpersons to eliminate an annoying spouse.  In the private sector however they are usually nonprofessionals  who frequent bars. 

Both the  Mob and the disgruntled spouses hire the killer  for they are too chicken to tackle the job themselves. It keeps the blood off their hands.   Sad to say or perhaps delighted to say, I have stooped so low as to farm out such an ugly task myself. 

The other morning when I was walking Mighty in the dark (his usual 4 AM toilet) I  saw the shape of a large animal out by the septic tank. I quickly put my undersized pugilist in the house and went to investigate. 
There I met my personal hitman or perhaps hitpreditor  is more correct. 

 Not my image. This came in an email. 
I was very surprised to see  that the creature on the ground was actually a very large owl. At first I feared the ice storm, which was in progress, had felled him but as I shined the flash light on him, he gave me a look only an owl can give. He blasted me a withering stare like I had just piddled on the carpet. It is quite guilt inducing.  Having put me in my place with his steely glare, he then  expanded his giant wingspan and quietly slipped into the night. Wow.

At first I delighted in my discovery of such a beautiful creature,then the sinister wheels turned. I had found my hitman or more correctly, hitbird.

Vole from Google Images
 In July I had  written a post about my vole invasion.  My plants were dying in the ground as their roots were eaten away by the  adorable  little rodents. I had been invaded. I was half dreading Spring planting for I was afraid my veggies would never make it to the table. Not my table anyway. 

 I am too much of a weenie to do any actual killing but I have no problem with Nature doing her thing, as long as I don't have to watch. Balance is good.

 However one problem potentially solved has created another. I read where owls that size can carry off a small fox. Since Mighty Dog is much smaller than a fox,  I now  will have to leash walk  Mighty on those early morning jaunts. Somehow, it will be worth it.

 Hopefully Mr. or Mrs. Owl wasn't just passing through and that my enormous supply of voles will entice it to stay. 

Anyone know if there is something extra I can do to keep the hitbird attracted till the vole problem is solved?


  1. Your writing made me smile and I am so glad cats dont need to be taken out at lol.
    I hope Mr Owl sorts the Vole problem ...but it makes me a little sad as there is a Mr and Mrs Vole ...and babies too ... probably ...sorry to bring that up. xx

  2. Never had that problem, so don't know anything to say to help. I would definitely walk Mighty with never knows.

  3. Usually nature keeps a good balance. It's when we interfere that things get wacky.

  4. we have a Hit Hawk...i stand in the yard and point out the squirrels, we want them gone but don't have the heart to hurt them....

  5. That's pretty funny, Patti, but in its own way you are helping to keep the balance of nature. I do hope your vole problem goes away. How does one attract and keep predatory creatures? If you find out, I do hope you share the information! :-)

  6. It is the way of nature. Your vole picture is cute, but having suffered the ravages they can work on a garden, I say hurray for that owl.

  7. As cruel as it sounds I'm grateful to the foxes that keep the rabbit population down in our garden. The damage they do is unbelievable, but I still don't like seeing a fox walking along with a baby rabbit hanging out of his mouth.

    I hope Mr/Mrs Owl stays put and sorts out your vole problem.

  8. Good luck! I love owls. Late one evening one swooped down low, landed on a branch and then eyed my suspiciously. It was great. I am not sure about voles. Our neighbors cat patrols our yard keeping it rodent free.

  9. I agree with Gail...nature does take care of things best if we stay out of the way.
    We have a hawk who has taken up residence in the junipers that line my neighbors backyard. He/she have taken down the mourning dove population in the neighborhood as well as the mice. But like you I have to be careful when I let our little dog out because the hawk tried to carry her off last summer. YIKES.

  10. Dear Arkansas Patti, I don't know anything at all about owls so I'm no help with enticing the hitowl to stay. Sorry.

    Your description of the owl stare had me grinning. Thanks for this morning's laughter. Peace.

  11. I love owls - they are beautiful creatures! Hopefully he will stick around until the voles are all gone.

  12. Hitbird!! LOL!! Thanks for the laugh today. I'm not up on what would keep Hitbird around, but with your vast supply of voles maybe they will entice him to stay. Keep a close eye on Mighty!!

  13. Has anyone ever mentioned Gopher Snakes as a Hit Person. They stay around till all the Vermin are gone...i hope the Owl Family stays around and takes care of the problem...If not, think about a Gopher Snake or two....

  14. Now if you could entice the opposite sex of Owl to come visit, you might have permanent hitpeople and then baby hitpeople. That would take care of ALL the voles forever.

  15. I think the hawk will stay as long as there is food. Once they have determined that there aren't any more easy voles to be had, they'll move on. I have found that to be true for all the birds, if there's no food they leave.

    Wonderful close encounter!

  16. You had me grinning at hit predator and laughing at the image of the majestic hit owl shaming you with a "you piddled on the carpet" stare.

    Another Arkansas Patti classic!

  17. Hi Patti, Wish I had a 'Hitbird' here --or something which would kill some of our pesky squirrels and/or chipmunks. That would be wonderful... Wish I could 'hire' one!!!!! ha

    I've never seen an owl--but I'm sure we have them around here. Need to go out and check things out at nights...

    Thanks for the email gadget.

  18. I'm back from my blogging break. Check out my post for today, I think you'll find it interesting.

    We live in a 500 unit apartment complex so I was surprised this week by a notice to residents that a coyote had been seen in the complex & the suggestion residents keep an eye on their pets.

    I've discovered a large apartment complex is being built near a stream in this area. No doubt that coyote's habitat has been disturbed. Sometimes life sucks.

  19. Angie,
    I know, I think that also is why I can't directly do anything evil to them.

    linda eller,
    I do worry about my little fellow. I will keep him close by for a while.

    I had almost given up on Nature. I was so relieve to see her taking care of business.

    Me too. It would help if they weren't so darn cute.

    I guess having an abundance of their favorite food (voles) helps.
    Prior to this, I haven't seen any owls at all.

    Isn't it amazing how much damage they can do? You can have a healthy bed one week and a pile of brown sticks the next. They are quite efficient.

    LL Cool Joe,
    I agree Joey. I only hope I never have to witness the pest control in action.

    A neighbor cat is perfect. You get all the benefit and none of the cost of care giving.

    Oh my that had to have been awful. I am not sure I could live with seeing Mighty carted off by the Owl. So glad yours was a near miss.

    Ha ha, glad I found your funny bone.

    I have been so envious of your owl. Now I have my very own. They are so beautiful and mysterious.

    So glad I was able to give you a giggle. I really am going to watch Mighty closely. That would be too horrible to imagine.

    I did have a nice resident snake who ate rodents but who also had a habit of cleaning out bird nests. It is hard to get a specialized predator. I haven't seen the snake in a long while.

    There is nothing cuter than a baby owl. That would be so special.

    Well if he moves on, then I guess he has done his job and eaten himself out of house and home.
    I really treasured the encounter. He was awesome.

    Thanks so much and glad to have tickled you. I have been guilty of inflicting that same look on a poor incontinent dog before.

    Too bad there isn't a bird seed that squirrels don't like. I'll see if my owl would consider a move to Tennessee.
    Thanks for the good instructions on how to apply that gadget.

    Welcome back gal. Glad you are back in business. I will pop over to see you now.

  20. My goodness, one thing certainly does lead to another! I have been thinking about all these wild creatures lately since we moved. There are many deer about. There are rabbits. There are coyotes. There is a bobcat. I hear there are bear. What have we done????

    I may need me a hit man. I worry when my husband takes our dog out for his very early morning potty break, or for the late evening one. I found a rabbit carcass across the street the other day. It was obviously the victim of a predator. Was it the coyote, the bobcat, or possibly we have some killer owls out there too.

  21. Great story! The owl will stay as long as there is a reason too, like tasty voles.

  22. Your hit bird story had me in stitches! :-)
    Hope you manage to work out a longterm contract that is beneficial to both of you.

  23. I need a hitbird to take care of my mole problem. Send him down here for a bit- I promise I'll send him home when he's done!

  24. Your so darn funny Patti I wasn't sure where this was leading the way the story started.
    I too can not find a way to resort to killing some of these creatures out here that are causing me trouble.
    Owls are a big problem and I do hope yours finds a new home soon. Thank goodness you found out about him before he could hurt sweet Mighty.
    No one understands me putting my two outside cats in at night or that I worry about them to a point where it's unhealthy for me but can't help it.
    I know we have two many creatures out here and I too have heard owls.
    Keep Mighty on that leash.
    Love ya

  25. You can put up (or have someone else because they need to be quite high up) an owl nest, depending upon the type of owl is the size of the nest you would need (check out Audobon or some such place on the net). A nesting pair of barn owl can eat up to and now I forget the number but I think it's 1200 rodents in a season, that's for a barn owl which is smaller in stature than the great horned owl. Do keep Mighty under wraps though especially at dawn and dusk as they are active then too.

  26. I agree with Gail...nature usually does keep a good balance :)

  27. Retired English Teacher,
    We keep taking their homes so they end up having to share with us. Sadly we are fighting over the same piece of land.

    Linda Reeder,
    Ha ha, guess he will just eat himself out of a job.

    Ah, there you are. I have missed you. So glad you got my humor.

    Ha ha, Hope you don't mind if I make sure he is finished here first. Then you can keep him.

    Actually I am more pleased with the owl than worried. It does mean I have to be more vigilant about Mighty but hopefully the owl solves my vole invasion.
    Keep those babies in at night like you are. It is the safest way.

    Linda Starr,
    Good idea Linda and I will check out the possibility of the nest boxes. If I could attract the smaller owls, I wouldn't have to worry about Mighty.

    I am all for the natural way also. Mom Nature is pretty smart.

  28. Gosh! I don't know. I've never had a vole problem. We do have a LOT of chipmunks in our Illinois suburb though (and skunks). We could use an owl or two there. The Coopers Hawk help also.

    Do please keep Mighty safe. I always enjoy your posts, Patti!

  29. I have no idea what you can do to keep them around. Our hawk still seems satisfied with the amount of small game we can provide for him.

    The answer to your questions are: No and Yes, meaning he is not taking care of me and yes, he is underfoot. It will always be that way. Even when I am ill, I am expected to cook and keep the place straight (if not strictly clean.)

  30. I seen that happen before to a friends garden bed, holes everywhere lol.


  31. Well, you can put up an owl house. There used to be a program at the university here that would put them up when people sighted owls. The program stopped the week before I had my first owl sighting.

    Just this morning I saw a hawk swoop down in my back yard. I didn't watch to see what he was going for or if his efforts were successful.

  32. How exciting, Patti! This will never happen in my back yard where the biggest bird is a woodpecker! ;)

  33. Kay,
    Thank you so much.That makes my day.
    Lucky you. A Cooper's Hawk would do also.

    Ha, I guess he is just trying to get by being handsome:)) Sorry about that. Bet he wants pampered when he is sick.

    Introverted Art,
    I know, that is why I can't do anything to them myself.

    Thanks so much for stopping by. And yes, they are tiny wrecking crews.

    We don't have a University near by but maybe the Audubon Society can help. Thanks.

    Reader Wil,
    Gosh it is good to hear from you. I thought you quit blogging when you went to Australia. Some of my blog buddies are not showing up on my readers list. I will try to enter your info again.

  34. Hi Patti! Thanks for your comment. No, I haven't quit blogging, but last year was very busy. I was in Israel for two weeks and visited Dina who writes daily about Jerusalem. We went together to a kibbutz and saw a lot of the north of Israel.
    A couple of months later I went to Australia and in December we all went to Tasmania to celebrate Christmas and New Year. So I was very busy.i had not forgotten you and your wonderful stories though! Actually I thought you had quit blogging!! Fortunately you didn't.

  35. Oh, be careful. Those owls are not fun-loving critters and would indeed go after your dog.

  36. Haha! That's quite a story Patti, I must admit I wasn't sure where you were going with it in the beginning. Did you take the shot of the owl, it' s fantastic, but scary to think what it's capable of. Can't help with the vole problem, not even sure if we have them in Oz.

  37. I hope the owl takes care of the vole problem. I have no idea how you would keep the owl around. The voles should be enough to keep it there until they are all gone. An owl tried to carry off a friends dog and the dog ended up having to have surgery twice before the injuries healed. I know you know the dangers of an owl being around with little dogs though. Sure hope those voles are all gone very soon sweet Patti. Hugs

  38. Yes, you better keep Mighty Dog safe, big owls are powerful birds. I hope you have found the solution to your vole problem. If not, have you heard of Critter Out? It's safe to spray around to keep mice, deer, etc. away from your garden.

  39. Reader Wil,
    Hopefully now that I reentered you on my blog list it will start picking up your posts again. It quit picking you up as you were getting ready to leave for Australia. I've missed you.

    It really has made our morning walks a bit anxious but it will be worth if if the owl makes my voles move on.

    Welcome to TNS. Sadly it was not my photo, I always put that notice below any picture I post that is not mine. That came in an email quite a while ago.
    Lucky you that voles don't like Australia. They are cute but destructive.

    What happened to your friends dog is too horrible to imagine. Mighty does not like being held in by leash but I can't take a chance.

    I Googled Critter Out but as best I can tell it won't work on voles. Voles are mostly underground eating the roots off of plants.

  40. Good job you went back to investigate. Now dogie will be safer. I bet that your mole population is just too easy for them to disappear! With as many as you had owls are likely very happy to oblige by sticking around a bit.
    I love the way you put this all together. Very creative post Patti.