The Dancer

The Dancer
Graceful dead tree up above Deep Canyon.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Barn owl




My goal this summer has been to find and photograph an owl.  There's a little burrowing owl who perches up on a water tower down by my school, but I've wanted to find one out in the wild.  So, yesterday I took a short drive out in the country by my horses, since it was still early, and saw something sticking up in the road.  Thinking that it was the mate to the shoe I just saw, I kept going.  I went down another road and saw a hawk up on a telephone pole, but something nagged at me to turn around and investigate that "shoe", so I did.  Turns out, it was a freshly-hit barn owl.  And, yes, it was dead.  I thought it might be alive because its wing was moving, but it was just moving in the breeze.  I pulled over to investigate it and was amazed by the delicate and beautiful feathers.  I took a stick and moved him off the road, not wishing him to be run over any further.  Poor thing.  I wonder if he was out hunting for his owlets. Each baby requires 6 mice per night.  That's a LOT of mice!  The author of "Wesley the Owl" estimates that she bought 28,000 mice for Wesley during his life at $1.00 each!!!   What's really strange is that later that afternoon, after my nap, I drove out to COSTCO and found a book called, "Wesley the Owl", which is written by a gal who took care of a barn owl for nearly 20 years!  She got him when he was 4 days old (apparently he was the weakling of the bunch and was found abandoned on a trail in the San Gabriel mountains with a permanently-injured wing) and he imprinted on her.  She had to take him everywhere with her because, as she was told, "There are NO owl babysitters!".  He slept with her every night and so far their adventures are hilarious.  I'm learning a lot about barn owls just from reading her book.She got him in 1986, before stringent laws prevent a person from keeping a wild animal like an owl.  She did take him to work at the lab with her and at this point in the book, he is losing his baby feathers and learning how to stand on a perch.  As you can tell, I'm enjoying reading this book and I'm sure I'll be posting more about owls as I continue into it.

2 comments:

  1. To bad about the loss of this owl. The feathers are soft like velvet.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Owls are beautiful and amazing birds. I know there are some living by us, but I've never seen them even once.
    You are right about the feathers, they are amazing...

    ReplyDelete