Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Owls

Over the years that we have lived here, we have seen a few owls in the neighborhood. It's a rare occurrence. Last weekend I went into the kitchen to start dinner and glanced out my wonderful big window that looks out into our yard. I saw the back of an owl sitting on one of our trees.

I called Anna to come look. We tried to take pictures from the kitchen window. Then, she decided to go outside to get a better view. I told Frank and he also went outside with his camera. I stayed inside to get dinner ready but watched as they crept up on the owl. It didn't seemed to be too bothered by them. His head spun around many times to check on them, but he (I'm just assuming it was a "he") did not fly off. They managed to get pretty close to take some pictures.

I wanted to watch until it flew away, but missed that event while I was busy in the kitchen. Anna stayed and was startled when it did finally fly away. Afterward, we looked in our bird book to find out that it was a Barred Owl (related to the Spotted Owl). In the past, we have seen a Great Horned owl.

Then, on Friday morning after Anna had left for school and before I went to the museum, I was reading in the living room when I heard a "wreep" sound and then a "hoo . . . hoo, hoo . .hoo". It sounded close by on the side of the house. I carefully pulled up the side window blind in the living room to see if the noise was coming from the tree that is right next to it.

I looked out and searched the area. It was just dawn and still dark. Eventually, I saw a bird fly off. I think it was a smaller bird of prey, probably the one that had "wreep"ed. Then, I heard the "hoos" again. It was more toward the back of the house.

I went to our bedroom and pulled up the side blind just a tiny bit to look out. There was an owl sitting on a branch right outside the window. I think it heard me and swiveled its head. I couldn't see its details very well since it was so dark. But I could see the silhouette and the "ear tufts" on its head. It was a Great Horned Owl. I saw its thick legs and talons on the branch.

But then a neighbor's car door slammed and the owl flinched. The car engine started and the owl took off before I had much time to enjoy it.

Two different types of owls in a short period of time was a treat. I love living in a place where I can watch wildlife in my own yard.

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