Yes, I’ve Finally Seen One!

great_horned_owl3I finally saw a great horned owl this morning on my walk. Why is that significant? Well, I grew up nature geek, reading and learning as much as I could about the natural world around me. However, book knowledge rarely translated into actual experience. When I was growing up in the 70s, it was sort of a desert for wildlife. Deer hadn’t invaded the ‘burbs yet. DDT had made all birds of prey scarce to non-existent. Coyotes were still things of cartoons, not real life.

As time went on, many animals thankfully made their way back. Deer are now suburban forest rats, hawks and eagles are common sights, and coyotes and elk are in freakin’ Tennessee. Of course, we have other things that we’d rather not talk about like armadillos and killer bees, but it’s been nice for this nature geek to watch cool parts of nature come back.

But I’ve never seen an owl in the wild, which has always been a deep desire. I don’t know why, but I’ve always thought owls are cool. I even have a distinct childhood memory when I came to realize that the owl sounds I was hearing were just a bunch of mourning doves. It was an incredibly crushing moment for me. A couple of times as an adult I think I’ve been “bombed” by owls at night, but all I felt was a rush of air and a vague blur out of the corner of my eye.

I’ve heard our neighborhood owls before in the morning and fantasized over actually seeing them, but when you’re walking before the sun comes up the viewing conditions are very poor. However, this morning I heard them and then was actually able to see them high up in a leafless tree. All the other times they were in an evergreen tree so I couldn’t pick them out. This time they were just darker blobs against a pre-dawn sky, but it was easy to tell they were owls and that they were BIG. That’s the problem with learning about birds in a book. You have no idea of the real size until you see them in person.

I secretly hoped they would still be there when I finished my loop in brighter conditions, but alas, they were gone and silent, hiding until the next time it is dark.

I’m hoping one morning I’ll catch them flying home to roost for the day, but until then I’ll be content with them serenading me on the early part of my morning walk.

 

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Categories: Local Adventure

5 replies »

  1. You still need to see a condor!

    Owls are things I haven’t seen much of here either – though I have seen a few here and there on the top of power poles at twilight – yet to get a good shot of one though!

    Enjoying the blog entries – I catch up every few weeks – keep it up!

  2. We have many wild that inhabit the huge Eucalyptus trees in Central Park next to the library. One day I was there with my kids when they were younger, about 3 and 5. We saw a mother owl and her nest. After that we were able to see her babies and watch them grow on our weekly visits. It was a very cool experience I will never forget and hopefully my kids will remember it too.

  3. Totally agree at the excitement of seeing an owl. We had one in our backyard on Shades and I actually got a blurry picture of it (bad camera!) but it was so exciting. Was in a hole of the tree and sort of blended with the color of the tree. Neat to see, though!! And only saw it that once!

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