One of the Great Horned Owls that nest in the tree near the house.

The owls were very vocal last night.  Usually I hear them conversing at dusk, and again at dawn.  I wake up smiling when I hear them.  During the day, I can usually find one adult in an adjacent tree.  It seems that the female owl does night duty with the babies and sleeps in the tree away in the daylight hours.  Dad is with the kids then.  The dad GHO is a 3-year-old owl, that was hatched and raised in this same nest.  He had a sibling who fledged and left.  I know this one was the same owl – he is the speech impediment owl.  He had a rough first two years.  From the start, he was only able to vocalize with a rather startling  “screeeeeee” sound.  He was shot by someone and lived to tell about it. Then, miraculously, he found a mate.  Perhaps she taught him proper speech patterns for owls.   He hoots now, pretty much like a proper owl, at least most of the time.  Sometimes if he is excited about something he starts off  ” hoot-hoo-hoo-weeeeehhhh-ieeee-oooowww”  It is funny 🙂  However, I don’t laugh at him  (well maybe I do if I am in the house)  I had begun to refer to him as the laughing owl, but it didn’t stick.  He was in the adjacent tree one evening.  Making that original ” screeeeee” noise.  Then I heard him a bit later and went outside.  He sounded muffled, I wondered what was wrong with him.  Then he flew to the nest, and I could see he had dinner for the owlets in his beak.  The muffled sound? The owl talking with his mouth full!

I laugh because I realized that as this pair was hatching the eggs, and now feeding the chicks I had taken to saying this. “The owl is sticking up out of the nest.  There are the feathered ears”.   Pretty much always accompanied by hand gestures mimicking the “ears”.  Heehee.  I observed that as the owlets grow, the adult will inch up the inside of the nest, eventually standing on the side at the top.  Now I can see the adult about halfway up the side, with two rounded, light-colored feathered heads poking above the top of the nest.  It gets really funny when the adult is IN the nest and the babies are on the edges looking in at the adult!  Have not gotten a photo of that yet.  Maybe this year!

I love these big birds.  I love living where I can  hear them, or see them in the trees or the nest.  They bring peace to me, it makes me happy.  I need that.  I have a friend who loves owls as much as I do, and I think of her whenever I hear them.  She lives above the beach, and I am happy for her.  Between the two of us, we have the balm for our souls.  She watches the waves and I watch the owls.  Perhaps one day we will be in the same place at the same time.  And we won’t have to speak.

Enjoy the day all, beautiful weather here today.