Screech Owl Chronicles – The Owlets at Three Weeks
Wednesday, April 29, 2020
An early morning storm emptied the air of humidity; now cool air wafts through the screen door and windows. A young male cardinal perches on the patio table and glances through the window. He is half red and half brown, his breast and head red and back and tail brown. The crest on his crown is only a tuft of feathers now. The morning conversation has died down, leaving only the sound of the wind as it drifts through the trees.
Mrs. Owl is leaving the box earlier and earlier each day. Yesterday she was gone by noon and didn’t return until evening when it was time to begin feeding. We sat outside and watched the adults fly back and forth to the nest. They sail in from the southwest, expertly landing on the perch at the entrance, then pop into the box. It seems like nothing is happening for a few minutes, at least from the outside, and then an owl swoops down across the yard and over the fence.
Inside the box the owlets huddle quietly, even dozing upright in a corner. They grow bigger by the day – fuzzy round heads, dark circles around tiny black eyes, the tips of their quills reflecting the light. When a parent arrives, there is an explosion of energy. Pushing, pecking, cackling. When the parent leaves, the owlets return to their corners and patiently wait for the next meal delivery. This back and forth goes on for hours and is especially lively between eight and ten, beginning when evening shadows blur the light. The world is quieter now without the sounds of so much traffic, people going back and forth. There is no where to go, so we can enjoy where we are.
– Christine Baleshta