Today was my last day for my Plants and Animals of California class. After our final exam, I decided to make use of being out at the right time (near sunset) to go visit my owls and see how Junior is doing.
Junior’s good! Still same spot. Still same fuzzball. Still peering DEEP INTO MY SOUL when it sees me.
Ma Owl was in the same euc as last time, facing Junior. Not much was happening for a bit. Until a gutsy Squirrel started approaching! Ma Owl quickly noticed. It got a couple feet from Junior when Ma Owl swooped in and pretty much landed on Junior! It gave death stares to the Squirrel, which held its own for a while!! They had a staredown that seemed to last FOREVER.
After a couple hops to slightly different locations, still looking Junior’s way, the Squirrel left. It was all VERY EXCITING.
And then something surprising happened. Ma Owl, still practically sitting on Junior, turned around to reveal a Rat of some kind IN HER MOUTH! I honestly cannot understand HOW SHE DID THAT. Was it just lying nearby? Near the nest? And she grabbed it when her back was to me? I can’t imagine she was able to snatch one (randomly on the tree??) while in the nest right there AND on Junior, my gawd. Ok, another possibility is that she TIME TRAVELLED to get that rat?? Wouldn’t put it past her. Nope.
While I moved to get a somewhat better look, she must’ve hopped out of the nest to a branch just above it and then dangled the Rat (which I’m guessing was a Rat, as it had a very long tail and just seemed large, in general?) above Junior, who pathetically tried clamping its beak onto the Rat’s long tail. NO DICE. Then she hopped back into the nest, onto Junior, and seemingly proceeded to tear the Rat into breakfast.
This went on for some time, while I tried seeing if there was another vantage point to see into the nest. NOPE.
I was really starting to wonder where Pa Owl was, as it was getting quite close to sunset. And then I heard A HOOT. There he was! He was across the way and hooting toward the nest while Ma Owl continued prepping food for Junior.
It was pretty dark at this point. Most of my photos are pretty crap, given the low lighting at the time. I normally wouldn’t dare share such crap photos, but it’s what I have. And I want to remember it all.
He hooted for a bit, then flew off toward the West and out of sight. It was about then that it seemed like a good time to leave. And how satisfying to see ALL THREE OF THEM for the first time together this year! All seems well. Except for that nest space. They gotta get a bigger place. Good thing they know of one. And good thing I know where it is!