Paying attention to knowledge gained over the years paid off recently while out for a long evening walk. It has become a near ritual to include a hunt for the owl family we have been following for the past few months.
Walking past the tree we had seen them in most recently proved futile so we headed up the pathway where we saw them last year. After a short distance we heard some robins chirping a distress call. "The owls may be nearby," said my husband, having learned to recognize a bird's distressful chirping when a predator was threatening. Slowing our pace, we began looking more intently at the trees and rooftops around us.
"There it is," I said pointing to the evergreen tree ahead. Stan didn't see it immediately because of the camouflaging branches. "Just keep walking past the tree a distance and we'll stop further along to get a better look," he said.
Daddy owl was facing across the pathway towards the houses on the other side.
What a gorgeous site.
But no owlets. "I'm sure the babies are nearby," I quietly commented. Stan immediately spotted them on the roof of a house. All three birds were intently watching us.
We were blessed to see the young owls hop around a bit, fly off out of site and quickly return to a very large, leafy tree a short distance away, causing considerable agitation to several small dogs in the yards around that tree.
The wingspan of these birds is enormous in comparison to their short stubby bodies. Their flight is silent. The landing in the leafy tree by the young birds seemed somewhat awkward revealing they are still in flight school.
We are so grateful to have recognized the distress call of the robins, alerting us to the likely presence of the owls. We were not disappointed.
These pictures of an owlet were captured the following evening. All the pictures were taken by my husband.