A Better Day of Birding

The scene was set. Movement was where no movement had been for the last hour and a half. One owlet had ventured out of the nest but barely. The other two siblings snuggle close together. Little grey bundles of fluff. The mother is placed between the singlet and the twins. It took the arrival of another group of photographers to alert us to the large statuesque Great Horned Owl. The father owl is standing watch from two trees over. Likely two or maybe three times the size of the mother. He is very still. As the sun moves across the sky, he is in the shade and barely visible. In the sun with the pattern of the feathers stark. In the shade, he almost disappears. Silent and motionless as he soaks up the sun. He appears to be asleep. Until the squirrel.

The tiny squirrel makes his way up the tree.  In the middle of the triangle of father owl, us, and mother and her three owlets.  Venturing higher and higher to munch on even more tantalizing bunches of blossoms.  But protected by fewer leaves.  Higher and higher.  Oblivious to the father owl with lazar eyes trained on him.  Like a scene from a program detailing the realities of the food chain.  We hear from the new paparazzi arrivals that 5 pm was eating time yesterday.  It’s well past dinner time.  The owlets are restless and ready to eat. The kill feels imminent.  

The owlets wait.  The mother waits.  The birders and paparazzi below wait.  And the large, beautiful owl in his Big Horned way waits.  Until the full bellied little squirrel scurries down the tree and out of harm’s way.  And I feel a little lighter, not having witnessed the call of the wild.  No food chain in action today.  And it makes for a better day of birding in my opinion.

A WILD ABOUT Wednesday post – Birding is one way to #getOUTdoors and take the time to notice the beauty, habits, songs, and surprises of the birds that have too often become invisible parts of our lives.

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