We were lingering over a late breakfast this morning, and our favourite radio program Wait Wait Don't Tell Me was just beginning. I saw something enormous flapping near the railing of our deck--the wingspan was several feet wide. Speechless, I had the presence of mind to shove my husband, and totally freaked him out. "What was that?" I finally manage to gasp.
We stepped outside and looked all around, but didn't see a thing. Then he glances towards the big hemlock and says, "It's that owl."
A few weeks ago, we had a morning visit from a barred owl, which spent about an hour hanging out and napping in our tall beech tree.
Well, he must've liked it around here--and hey, what's not to like?--because here he was again. This time, he spent 2 hours sitting around and napping. He didn't mind my going out on the deck to take his picture. He didn't mind my husband messing about with a very noisy snowblower.
I'd had a killer week, way too busy for somebody whose energy has been depleted by the Unidentified Disease from Hell. So it felt quite nice to sit at my dining room table, staring back into the wise, contemplative eyes of a barred owl for hours on end. From time to time I'd rouse myself to do a load of laundry, or pot up some passion flower seedlings, or head back onto the deck again to take a photo. He winked at me a lot. If I moved out of view and came back, he seemed quite pleased to see me again.
Leda had her swan. I've got my Owl. I think it's safe to say that we're developing a fairly intense relationship.
When he decided to move, he just hopped to another branch which enabled him to lean against the tree trunk and continue his napping and gazing around. I love the way he moves his head, slowly, precisely, exactly like a mechanical bird.
It's a gorgeous, sunny day, and the husband decided to take the dogs for their usual stroll round the neighbourhood. When they all scrambled out on the deck, the big bird just sat there, watching, unperturbed. Then, has the threesome moved down the driveway, he decided to that a change of position might be prudent. He flew across the front yard to the oak tree. It was a very sunny spot, so he decided to stay there for about an hour.
He has just, in the last five minutes, flown back to the hemlock.
I've sent one of my most awesome photos of my incredibly photogenic bird to the newspaper.
I'm headed upstairs to the sitting room now with a cup of tea, for some more meaningful eye contact.
The only meaningful eye contact happening was between the owl and his dinner.
Things got really exciting. From the sitting room we watched the owl, who swooped several times low over the snowy yard, from perch to perch.
A few minutes ago, he suddenly sailed down from his favourite hemlock branch towards our front steps. Briefly he sat there--we could look down upon him from the window above. Moles or voles have tunneled through the snowpack, and the tunnel outlets are right there at our front steps.
Next thing we knew, the owl was flying back to his hemlock branch with something dangling from his claws.
I dashed into the dining room to grab the big binoculars. I was able to focus only seconds before the owl gulped down the rodent he'd captured.
Honestly, it's like living in the middle a nature film here....
In the fading light, the owl is still clinging to his branch, looking a bit drowsy.
We've decided to call him Shakespeare. Because he's a "barred" owl. Get it?