This is a picture of an owl, taken in extremely low light at about 8:45 pm yesterday. It was one of at least two owls in the same tree… I think it was one of three. One owl was definitely grooming another owl, and then when I came back with a camera an owl flew away from the scene from an unlikely angle. I really think there were three.
That means these boogers snuck an owlet past me. And I was *watching.*
It makes me feel a bit less idiotic about all the Ecks and Henrietta years. If you don’t happen to catch the owlet the day it branches, I think it’s pretty much game over. That’s such a tiny window!
Anyway, if the family was hanging out in the yard last night, I’m delighted. I hope the AirBnB was up to snuff and it’s theirs if they want it next year!
I am a person of little faith, apparently. I was sitting outside thinking there must not be an owlet this year, because by this point, if there were an owlet I’d expect to see someone babysitting the nest, and there are no owls at all.
Except that the voyage is in having new eyes. The owls are there whether I see them or not.
Daphne knew where *I* was the whole time.
Daphne groomed herself. And then, in a magic moment straight out of Forrest Gump, this piece of leg fluff drifted out of her tree, across the yard, and literally straight into my hand.
For reference. (Hi res so you can zoom and sort of see her.)
I wasn’t even looking for owls this evening — just hanging out on the porch talking to my mom on the phone. Suddenly someone zoomed over my head. In the time it took to grab a camera, I almost lost him. He’s good at camouflage!
A few seconds later, the owl-tree-knot flew over to sit right next to my porch, between my house and my neighbors’. Although it was dusk and most of the other birds were gone, a few weren’t, and they weren’t thrilled about Simon’s arrival. (See video at bottom.)
Thanks to another cluster of chirping, zooming mockingbirds, I was able to notice another owl, high up in a neighbor’s tree, keeping an eye on me. (This one involved a real camera with a real zoom lens.)
After the birds calmed down, it became apparent that Simon was hunting. He tried one swoop and missed, then settled on the fence. So I texted my neighbor. Between the two of us we managed to capture both sides.
And I got video of BOTH the mobbing and the chipmunk-snag!
These birds, I’m telling you. On Thursday I heard a owl in my neighbor’s yard call out, and shortly after I heard a reply a couple blocks north. Seconds later an owl swooped overhead into my neighbor’s yard and vanished in the greenery. I couldn’t see either of them while they had a vigorous monkey-noises chat. But what did it mean? Neither had been in the tree. Is someone lurking to watch over a populated nest, and just much more cautious than Henrietta was? Or are they just local owls who didn’t successfully breed this year?
Tonight I heard a solicitation and dragged myself out back, prepared to be frustrated again. But suddenly, Simon appeared, just over my left shoulder. Then I heard a scrabbling and saw Daphne pop out of the tree — she prefers the southeastern entrance, where Henrietta always used the northwestern. Here’s a screengrab of the popping-out.
So there I was, on the porch, with Simon feet above me on the left and Daphne feet above me on the right. We all looked at each other for a few seconds. Then the feathery couple flew off to the west — but I’m sure they didn’t go far. Video:
Here is an owl. This owl was in my neighbor’s yard on Monday and it was hunting. When I approached it, it did the head-circling at me, allowing me to capture what looks like (but is not) a pretty threatening pose.