I went a little crazy in 2016. In 2015, I saw Trolley for a few days and then never again, so I was ready for the same thing to happen with McFeely and Negri in 2016. I even posted a sad little post on Facebook about how they’d moved on, about five days after they came out of the nest. Silly me. The problem wasn’t them, it was me, and once I knew to LOOK, I was finding owls everywhere. And then of course I photographed them, over and over, more and more — gigabytes worth!
Here are a very few of my favorite shots from the season. You can also watch the
playlist of videos on the YouTube Page. It ranges from sexytimes in February through flappity-hopping babies in May.
A few days out of the nest (so, a month old) and a month later.
“A handy kitty and a handy man…in a tree with a bell that rings.”
4/19/16 Ecks brings lunch. Make sure you watch the video of his delivery attempt.
4/21/16 I saw two babies on 4/18, but then only one on 4/19 and 4/20. I worked myself up into a sad frenzy thinking one had vanished. And then I looked up the next day and saw this!
5/21/16 Dad sat nearby and watched the whole thing.
5/21/16 By mid-May the owls were only in my yard every third day or so, but they were usually close enough by that I could find them (mostly by following the loud “hungry baby” screeches). On this night, I got extra-lucky, and got to watch the big girls do their thing for over an hour.
4/20/16 McFeely fell out of the tree on this day and had to slowly work her way back up. By dusk she was only about halfway up into the canopy. Henrietta brought her a snack and gave her a vigorous bath, and then sat nearby the whole evening as she climbed back up. (See video.)
4/26/16 Watching two babies is a full-time job for two parents.
4/18/16 The babies had left the nest… the hard work was about to begin.
5/21/16 After bouncing around for a while, the kids headed to my neighbor’s yard, sitting on the fence, roof, and hot tub canopy and practicing their pouncing. I don’t think they caught anything, because the evening ended with screeching for dinner.
4/18/16 I almost missed it, but JUST before sunset I looked up and realized I was being watched by two new sets of eyes. Hello, McFeely and Negri!
4/25/16 Henrietta likes to pretend she’s bored by me, and Ecks likes me to know he’ll mess me up. But babies just want to know what the heck I AM.
4/25/16 Mmmm, bird legs for dinner.
On March 28 I noted in my post that Ecks seemed jumpier and like he was following me around the yard. I made a funny comment about how fierce he seemed, given that he’s a bird who weighs about two pounds. On March 29, an anonymous owl flying at high velocity smashed into my head when I let the dogs out for the evening. It didn’t do that much damage — thank goodness he hit the back of my head and not my eyes! — but it hurt and I bled a lot. Thereafter the neighbors and I ordered some extra equipment.
2/29/16 “I see you are back from your walk. I’m back from my flight around the block with Ecks. …Okay, enough chatting. Move along.”
3/14/16 I didn’t see Henrietta for most of March. Ecks was usually around, though, keeping an eye out. Just before sunset he’d call her, and she’d answer, and then he’d fly off for a while. I feel like this was his asking what she wanted for dinner and then going to get it!
5/3/16 The first time I saw her hang a dead thing in a tree, I thought Henrietta must just have forgotten to come back for it. But she did it so often that I looked it up, and this really is owl refrigeration.
5/4/16 After you hork the owl pellet, you feel much better.
2/17/16 Henrietta, all fluffed up. Given what happened next, I’m guessing this is how a lady barred owl indicates her interest and availability?
2/17/16 Ecks (l) and Henrietta (r). And I know who’s who because of what happened next.
2/12/16 It’s not much sun, but a girl makes do.
2/12/16 Her first daytime appearance had been three days before, but this was the first time I saw her in the tree.
4/15/16 For the first two weeks of April, Ecks was much more absent, but Henrietta was visible almost 24/7. She seemed to be avoiding the nest, in fact — as if it were full of wiggling things that wouldn’t let her sleep. In fact she seemed a lot like the human mother of a newborn, in terms of her sleep deprivation.