"Always be on the lookout for the presence of wonder."
Spring finally sprung in our neck of the woods! Baltimore Orioles and hummingbirds arrived. We've seen wild turkeys at our neighbor's, wood ducks flying into our woods, and a couple eagles low enough to catch great glimpses. One even had a fish in its talons.
We also noticed unusual activity in the tree behind our deck, a favorite spot for frolicking squirrels, but not so much this spring. For several days we did see and hear the cacophony of squawking crows and hawks - sometimes together - high in the tree. Clearly these were not friendly exchanges. What is so interesting? Then they stopped coming. I was glad.
One day I caught small movements up in that tree. Was it a wing? Was it a squirrel tail? Both were viable possibilities. Stay aware. Then one evening, we saw a Barred Owl in all its camouflaged glory. It sat so still, its big eyes riveted on us. We shared the news with neighbors. They were watching another owl perched in a pine tree. Two owls! We've heard owls from the woods, but never saw them. Every day became a "who can see the owls first" game. Binoculars stayed on the counter.
Exactly one week from that first sighting, something more exciting happened. I noticed movement on a branch. An owlet. Another poked its head out from the nest. Suddenly the owlet on the branch was hanging upside down by both feet, trying to get upright, then by one foot. I took pictures. Eventually it dropped to the ground, which I missed. Darn. It stood a while, and then headed toward the deck. Before long it was on the deck steps. It eventually got up, wandered to the edge, and leaped. Practicing take offs and landings? Again it climbed step to the deck and jumped into the container garden. It tried climbing and flying out, but it was too steep. It hunkered down and rested. Finally the owlet realized it could simply walk out, and rested on the other set of steps. Then it was gone! I went outside and looked around, but didn't see it anywhere. I hope you're safe.
Later that evening, we discovered that two owlets fledged, and made their way to a tree at the edge of the woods. A third remained in the nesting tree, but did venture out on a limb for a while. The parents stayed vigilant, their babies always in sight, and brought them food. That was day one.
Day 2 - All three stayed in their same places most of the day. In the late afternoon, the first two started stretching and flapping their wings, and making their way to higher limbs. The third remained in the nesting tree but located on a higher limb.
Day 3 - In the morning, we saw the three owlets and both adults. By mid-afternoon, two owlets huddled together on a limb. We didn't see the third owlet or the adults. When evening came, there was only one owlet.
Day 4 - One lone owlet sat in a tree all day long.
Day 5 - One lone owlet still sat in the tree early in the morning. By late morning, it was gone.
What a blessing and privilege it's been watching this wonder unfold!