Leaving the Nest
Tuesday, May 11, 2021
Rain drips from tree branches, a constant patter of drops in the bird bath. It tried so hard to rain, really rain, and didn’t quite get there. Now the sun sifts through the clouds, casting strips of light on grass and trees.
Three owlets fledged last night. They shot out the entrance somewhere between 8:30 and 9 p.m. The two remaining owlets jumped around the box and hopped up to the entrance, begging for food. The parents returned later, bringing tidbits to the two owlets, but not as frequently as previous nights. At one point when Mrs. Owl flew into the box, an owlet stuffed himself into the entrance so she couldn’t leave. These must be the two youngest, the fourth and fifth to hatch. As we walked Daisy last night, the faint screeches of the newly-fledged owlets drifted over the fence.
This morning the two owlets huddled together in a corner of the box, pecking at each other, grooming each other, sleeping together. The rest of the family stays hidden. One adult was visible this morning, perched in a tree at the corner of the yard. Even though I scanned the branches of all our trees and those in the next yard, I couldn’t find them anywhere. Screech owls are small and their owlets are smaller; their gray feathers blend in perfectly with tree bark and are easily camouflaged by leaves. Last year we spotted the owl family in the tree canopies, but not now. There is supposed to be more rain tonight. Clouds are rolling in and the light is fading. Maybe we will get that downpour after all.
– Christine Baleshta