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The following item is restricted to bird watchers:

A great horned owl named Lord Nelson was snatched from his cage recently at the Mid-Fairfield County Youth Museum in Connecticut, and police were baffled until they got a mysterious phone call. It directed them to seek out a cardboard box placed at a nearby shopping center. The lawmen did just that, and inside the box was—correct—a great horned owl. Plus a note reading, "Hi there! My name is Lord Nelson. I would appreciate it if you would get me the hell out of this box and back to the Youth Museum, where I belong."

As we said, the item is strictly for bird watchers. Who else would give a hoot?

Everybody who knows golf knows that once-lumpy Jack Nicklaus has slimmed down to a lean 185 and has done something, well, stylish with his hair. But here is Jack's own report on what it has done for him: "When I came off the 18th green at the Doral Open in Miami," he told a friend, "there were 10 pretty girls there for autographs—nine were of age—and they each kissed me." Of course, he continued, Barbara Nicklaus was there and saw it all. "She hooked her arm in mine, led me away and said, 'O.K., lover. Let's go home and get going with the pancakes, syrup and butter. Got to fatten you up again.' "

Also for the knowledgeable golf fan, here comes a quick one-liner from Broadway columnist Robert Sylvester: "Why is CBS so upset about (Vice-President Spiro) Agnew's criticism? He was probably aiming at ABC."

The Sporting Marksman of the Week Is—

Charles Hubbard, security guard at Jones High School in Orlando, Fla., who is making his rounds and spots a shadowy figure in a darkened classroom. Several shadowy figures, in fact. Hubbard orders them to come out. Shadowy figures don't budge. Oh, you won't come out, eh? So he draws his pistol and blasts away. Then it turns out that the shadowy figures are really life-size paper dolls produced by an art class. Authorities suspend poor Charlie, despite his defense that he figured he was outnumbered 10 to 1. Still, all was not lost. He actually winged one of those dolls. That'll teach 'em.

And on Jerry Baker Appreciation Night at the Indiana Stale Fairgrounds Coliseum, the Pacers' broadcaster (fetchingly attired in white tie, red polka-dot slacks, flowered shin and a beige sport coat) was presented with—well, with a Whirlpool trash masher, a set of MacGregor golf clubs and a bag, a Panasonic AM-FM stereo radio, a sport coat, a desk set, a black leather reclining chair, a month's payment on the new house he moved into in January, 125 gallons of gasoline, five shares in a beer company, a striped referee's shirt, an autographed picture of Norman Drucker (thanks, Norman!), proclamations from Indianapolis Mayor Richard Lugar and Indiana Governor Edgar Whitcomb, a Coca-Cola cooler with a case of Coke, a lifetime supply of air-sickness pills, a string of play whistles, a toy Greyhound bus, a model telephone and a plane ticket for his wife Ramona to accompany him during the basketball playoffs. Oh, yes. Also a one-pound bag of perfumed horse manure. Thoroughbred horse manure.

One of Maryland's state senators, Edward T. Conroy, now has a legislative aide. Ralph Palladin, who happens to be the fourth-ranked junior middleweight in the world. Senators, Palladin loyally reports, have it tougher than boxers. "They get out on the floor and say, 'My distinguished colleague this, my esteemed colleague that,' and then slash the other guy to pieces. They're doing it all day long! I only have to do it for 45 minutes in the ring."

Students...uh, fellas, meet Bonnie Malek. Bonnie is 14, the first girl ever accepted for summer training by the Kingston (Ontario) Hockey School, a place run by Wayne Cashman of the NHL's Boston Bruins. Bonnie doesn't play on any real team yet, but she is murder on the ponds around Norwood, N.Y., and she impressed school officials with her desire for the game. Bonnie wants a spot on the high school team. Now, fellas, remember, when we get to the lessons about fighting, don't anybody slug Bonnie.

And there is more news from the Little Liberation Front:

In Fayetteville, N.C., a suit has been filed against the Chevrolet Division of General Motors over the Soapbox Derby—it is claimed that the applications of Deborah Boisseau and a friend, Sandra Sosa, were refused because they were girls. Girls in the derby? At Sebring and Daytona, maybe, but the Soapbox Derby! Is nothing sacred?

In New York, meanwhile, the State Board of Regents moved—with one dissenting vote—to let girls compete with boys in noncontact sports. Such stuff as archery, badminton, bowling, fencing, golf, gymnastics, riflery, swimming, skiing, table tennis and track and field. Rowing also is O.K., the regents ruled, provided the girls serve as coxswains, but football, baseball and wrestling are out. That one negative vote came from Mrs. Helen B. Powers, the only woman regent. It's all "educationally unsound," she said, and besides, while men coaches are fine, women coaches understand the girls better.

And in Portland, Ore. Boy Scouting circles, the Explorers have started accepting girls. They also have started accepting women Explorer leaders, perhaps, as one observer pointed out, to watch what the boys are exploring.