The Owl Returns – But Which Owl?

Tuesday, February 13, 2024

            Winter’s chill is back and the owl is back in the box after a week of seasonally warm weather and a torrential rain storm.  The owl fidgets in a corner, pokes its beak into the shavings looking for food.  Debris from last year’s squirrel visit is pushed aside.  The owl flutters its wings and scuffs its feet sending dust and sawdust into the air.  As it nears 6 p.m. and the sun shines through the entrance, the owl rises up, growing tall suddenly, like a great horned owl.  Its eyes are wide and it appears to hear something, perhaps its mate.  By 6 p.m. the owl hops into the entrance and peers out.  Waits.  The sun sets, the sky darkens, and the owl soars over the bird bath toward the woods. 

            It’s hard to tell if this owl is the female getting her nest ready or still the male.  Since the male arrived, he has only left the box twice that we are aware of, most recently this past Saturday, February 10.  That morning rain and wind pounded the box and Tim turned off the camera that morning after checking the box.  It’s possible the storm shook the box and the owl felt safer outside.

            It seems like the sky opened up that morning.  I was at the barn with Sharon and Dianne, getting our horses ready to trailer to Cadence Ranch for dressage lessons with Christine Calao.  The wind blew through the barn entrance carrying a blast of cold rain and  I had to move Willis farther in next to the wash stalls.  Dianne and Sharon got soaked.  When the rain let up we loaded Willis and took off slowly and carefully.  Cadence Ranch is nestled in the rolling green fields of Hutto, a sprawling horse property with green pastures bordered by white fences.  Beautiful.  Horses grazing contentedly.

            Willis was calm and well-behaved during our lesson, but nervous waiting in his stall at the ranch.  It was a new, strange place for him and he didn’t like being away from Silencio and Lucioso.  Willis has become attached to them, and they to him.  They call to each other when one (or two) leave the paddock for lessons or riding.  It concerns me because they are moving them to Washington in June.  How will Willis feel, being left behind?

Christine Baleshta