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Sunday, May 18, 2008

Future Hedwig

Squeaky noises emitted from the huge maple trees that shade our back yard. I knew early last week that it was the same sounds heard three years ago when two screech owls raised their tiny duo in the tree tops.

One parent appeared at dusk in recent weeks. My neighbor, Myrna, joined me on Friday night to watch the small owl glide between the branches, calling in muted tooo-tooo-tooo-toots. We saw a dead rodent dangle from its beak, and heard the delighted response of a little one as it received an evening meal.


Saturday afternoon the distressed cries of the baby drew me to the fence. It may have fallen from the protection of its nest. (I put up an owl box last year - but it was claimed early on by the rascally starlings.)


There it was - the baby--at the base of the 100 plus year old maple tree.

I ran for my camera and hoped that there were no cats, crows, or magpies also attracted by its distress.

When I returned, the fledgling was climbing the tree. I appointed myself photography and protector and stood by.

Several times it flapped wings - but always held tightly to the bark with its talons.



A curious magpie lighted nearby as the owlet rested from a hard-struggled 20 feet of trunk. The long tailed black and white birds have a reputation for stealing and eating eggs and fledglings.

My flailing arms distracted the hunter. As did my shrieking and yelling "YOU GO AWAY YOU NASTY OLD MAGPIE!" (Even though I know their babies have to eat, too.)

Suddenly, the parent owl swooped between trees and made its presence known.

The magpie retreated.



After dark I cooled off in the hammock by the pond.

Soon, the sounds of the owls discussing their nightly details echoed over the quiet music of our little waterfall. I was relieved.

21 comments:

Amanda said...

Beautiful, Mom! Curly Mop loved the picture. She said, "Wook! And Owl!"

Susie said...

So glad this story had a happy ending. The baby owl clinging to the tree and climbing up must have been so much fun to see. Loved your photos!
xo

Jan said...

Great post and photos. Lucky baby owl.

ChrisB said...

What lovely photos. Embee saw a magpie with a baby bird in its beak the other morning as he was opening our gates~ unfortunately he couldn't do anything about it. I suspect it was one of the baby blackbirds, because the parents haven't been around as much in the last few days~ so sad :(

Mercy's Maid said...

How neat! Glad you were there to take pictures. Who knew baby owls climbed trees?

wendster said...

Title of his photo: Tenacity. What a determined owl. Self advocating even. Glad it made it back to it's parents.

If it hadn't would you have raised it? Here we aren't allowed to even TOUCH them .... can't even have one of their feathers if one falls off. Gotta leave it where you found it.

Glad you helped save the little guy. Good job.

Masago said...

Enjoyed.

the planet of janet said...

that's SO cool, pamela! who knew that owls could climb trees??

karisma said...

How absolutely lucky are you? What a great way to spend the afternoon! Move over and make room for me in that hammock!

Great pictures!

Kaycie said...

How wonderful! And such excellent pictures. I'm glad the little one got back home.

tlawwife said...

Good to see perseverance rewarded.

DesLily said...

oh man! Great shots Pam!!!!

The only owl story I have is when I stayed in Virginia (very close to North Carolina) for an extended vacation by my mother in laws home in the wood near John Kerr Resev. An owl perched somewhere outside my bedroom window.. it Hooted. and Hooted. and Hooted. and Hooted... (get the picture? heh)

Karmyn R said...

Nasty old magpie.

I didn't show the kids yet - I will when they get up.

nikki said...

Oh, what lovely pictures. Owls are such graceful creatures.

Claudia said...

That is so cool!! Owls are so fascinating...

heather said...

What a treat! You have an adventure in your own backyard.

Walker said...

Loved the story, Pamela! What a treat to see owls in your own backyard.

Joy T. said...

I know Magpies are birds too but when I see them gang up on the Robin's nests around our acreage....well let's just say I hate nature sometimes. How lucky to have owls in your yard and your pictures are gorgeous. Glad the little fella made it back safely.

Desert Songbird said...

You're such a good owl mama, Pamela.

lisa marie said...

Oh Pamela! How exciting! I'm so glad you got some pics to share! He's adorable! Better than the bee. :)

Jenni said...

What an amazing post, Pamela! I'm so glad you were able to get pictures *and* protect the baby owl from the magpie.