Do you know what it means when an owl enters your house? I don’t, but I decided to take a stab at answering it when Quora suggested I do so:

I thought immediately about Harry Potter’s indoor owl Hedwig – the boy wizard’s steadfast familiar and important means of communication.

Since Hedwig is an imaginary owl, J. K. Rowling skipped the details about what a mess Hedwig surely made inside Harry’s room. Bird poo. Feathers. Nasty owl pellets.

Whether or not a home visit from an owl signifies trouble doesn’t really matter. From a practical standpoint, a wild bird — a wild anything — in the house is bad news.

Domesticated animals are foul enough: I’ve witnessed a front door interior scratched to splinters by a neglected dog. A bedroom corner so saturated with cat spray it burned my eyes. An abhorrent aroma emanating from the un-locatable carcass of an escaped hamster. Fleas. Termites. Dog turds.

You don’t have to live in the country for critters to be a nuisance! In San Francisco you can find ants colonizing a bathroom, raccoons swarming an uninhabited apartment, skunks lurking beneath houses and bedbugs reproducing faster than the fruitflies teeming in the kitchen.

Or consider this tasty tidbit from an inspection report I read yesterday concerning all those scuffling sounds in the attic. “Longterm infestation has left copious amounts of feces on top of the cellulose insulation. This confirms pervasive nesting with urine saturation throughout. Attic contaminants including fecal matter, urine and mold have been effectively circulated throughout this home via the heat system ductwork. These ducts have been used for thoroughfares and latrines.”

In other words, the upstairs neighbors are an extended family of rats. So, after further consideration, perhaps it would be a terrific idea to invite an owl inside. Owls like to dine on rats. Right?

Photo Credit: Ray Hennessy

Cynthia Cummins is a Top Producer and Partner at McGuire. For info on SF real estate visit http://CynthiaCummins.com