what a hoot

I had a most amazing little visitor today. Walking back from my after-lunch campground rounds, I noticed a flurry of wings and loud squawking under our awning. A couple of deviant looking scrub jays split the scene when they saw me, landing in the nearest oak tree, but kept on taunting another bird that seemed to be taking refuge on the back of my camp chair. When I got a little closer, I realized it was an owl. A baby owl, no bigger than my hand.

I inched closer and closer, taking advantage of the times it was looking away from me to move an inch or two. It took about 10 minutes to move 3 feet. Every time it turned to look at me I froze like a kid playing Statue Maker on the front lawn, phone-camera poised, one foot in the air, goofy look on my face, until it looked away again and I could inch forward a little bit more. Then Lucy came out from under the picnic table, and that baby owl make the cutest little "eeek" sound, and promptly pooped on my chair, just before flying up to the tree. I was happy to note that it didn't appear to be injured.

Look at how well it matches the tree bark. If it didn't have eyes, I'd never have been able to spot it, even though it was only 10 feet away from me. I dashed inside and grabbed my good camera so I could zoom in without scaring him any more than he already was. (By now I'd decided that it was a "he". I really have no idea...) The scrub jays were still harassing the owl, and I figured since the little guy came to my front porch for refuge, it was up to me to try to help him out. I went inside again and grabbed my sling shot - oh, yes I did - and proceeded to plonk pebbles at the jays. I'm a lousy shot, so no one was in danger, but I managed to scare them off, and snapped a few more pictures of Baby Owl. I can't imagine why, at this point, he decided to give me the Stink Eye...

It sat up there for quite a while, looking at Lucy with great concern, and back to me, I thought to make things safe for him. I took Lucy inside the trailer to ease some of the stress, and then decided I'd better get back to work. I went in to get a wet paper towel to clean the owl poop off my chair, and when I came out, the baby was gone... 

I call that a success. Whenever something comes to me for help - especially something with wings - the best possible end to the story is when the Winged Thing flies away, never to be seen again, without so much as a backward glance. That's how they say Thank You.


  1. Kim - that's a full-grown Screech Owl. They only get to about 10 inches. Listen in the evening for the call: a tremulous, descending wail and soft purrs and trills. They don't really screech, thank goodness! Great pictures.

    What a blessed visitation! Some think owls represent death, but I think it means a transformation for you. I'll be watching to see what that is.

  2. Oh! Thanks Zoe! I'm glad to know it wasn't a baby. It means he stands a better chance against the Mean Birds! I don't want to re-write the story though... hope people read the comments! :o)

    And the possible meanings of an owl visit don't scare me. We all go through many "little deaths" in life. Transformation, indeed. I'm about due for a good one. As fast as things are changing these days, nothing surprises me! BTW... this is my second visit from an owl. The first one was when I lived in Nevada, years ago, and a big barn owl was sitting on my car when I went out to go to work in the morning. It sat there for a good 30 minutes, just looking at me. Pretty amazing.

  3. That is a wonderful, indignant expression (in pic #2). Owls are fascinating and I love 'em not that I recognize many of them. That is a world-class shot of him/her though. I want that picture!


  4. That wasn't stink-eye; that was Owl recognizing you as a marvelous benevolent being of mysterious powers. :D

    I'd love to see Owl during the day! Lucky you! Thank you for sharing story and great pics!


  5. That stink eye picture made my day with a good laugh.
    Thanks, Suzie


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