I feel so grateful for having a wonderful treat to marvel at each day: A mama and papa screech owl have been living in my attic/house vent for over 8 years now. Each spring they bring new baby “owlies” to my backyard.
The mama and papa are comfortable with my quiet presence. Their wings have brushed my shoulders on several occasions. The feeling is absolutely awesome.
Every blue moon I feed them live crickets. The two owls sit perched on a branch of a Japanese maple, watching my every move. Suddenly, they plunge down to the patio and jump around catching the crickets in their claws … and then, quickly pop them into their eager opened beaks. Frequently they become impatient and coo loudly outside my bedroom window, calling me to rejoin them outside. More times than not, I come out to find them waiting on the backs of the outdoor chairs with their eyes focused 100% on me. Those crickets must be very tasty appetizers!
Each Spring, babies arrive. The babies are little fluffy balls of down. Each year I’m amazed the mama and papa are willing to “share” their babies with me. I watch them listening to their parents, learning to fly, learning to hunt.
At dusk on warm spring and summer nights, I sit outside and am thoroughly appreciative of their world and the pleasures they bestow upon me. I have always been very respectful of their space, their privacy, their trust. We actually have a relationship, a bond, that feels extremely warm and connected. I know each of their distinctive personalities.
I rarely go away for long periods of time but recently I went to Africa for three weeks. A neighbor kindly offered to watch over my house, yard, while I was away. He also asked if I’d leave some crickets so he could indulge the owls in my absence. Upon my return, he said he came over every evening and tossed out a few crickets for the little guys. He sadly reported that he never once saw the owls.
The night I returned home, I strolled outside at dusk and lo and behold, there they were! I got goosebumps from the emotional reunion. They yakked quite a bit over the next several evenings. Music to my ears!
Seriously, we have an indescribable relationship which I believe is felt both ways. These two little owls have enriched my life in a very big way!
Lori Katzburg, Walnut Creek, California
Screech owls are special little birds. These two have obviously developed their own personal relationship with you. Treasure it always. Tiny friends like that are hard to find!
Backyards, dear readers, are special places. I call them the Urban Wilderness. What’s living out there in your backyard? Have you bothered to find out? /Gary