The owl huddles in the owl box, curled up in a corner against the cedar wall. He has been in the box each day now for over a week, even on warm days when the temperature rose into the 70s. As the sun begins to set and evening shadows fall, he pokes his head out of the box and looks around. If I happen to be outside, he cocks his head slightly to get a better look at me as I hurry past, not wanting to disturb him. I do not want to break the spell of this good fortune – an owl in our box.
The light fades quickly after 5:30 and the owl is difficult to see. He is a strange shape in another strange shape that is the box. But with straining eyes you can make out his form as suddenly he explodes out of the box and drops straight to the ground, disappearing in the darkness.
As the days grow shorter the deer change their patterns. Does are seen later in the morning bedded down on someone’s lawn, or grazing with their fawns, now almost indistinguishable from yearlings. Around 5 o’clock they begin their evening stroll through the neighborhood, coming out of the greenbelt and the woods bordering the creek. Yesterday, Mrs. White was munching grass on Leatherwood with three other does, while another herd of six does and fawns walked along Sierra Leon. They walked along, leaping through yards when a car startled them and running across the road. This group seems to travel a circle around our little neighborhood, going from Taylor Draper and Ladera Vista via the Sierra Madre Trail to Danwood or Harrogate. There they cross the creek or go down Danwood to Q-Ranch Road.
The bucks travel alone or with another buck, but there are no big groups like we saw in summer. The bucks are still following the does. Last week a buck caught his antlers in a neighbor’s Christmas tree lights and dragged the tree through the yard.