Friday May 7 2010
In some cultures, the owl is a harbinger of doom and death.
(They're all so wrong.)
In some cultures the owl symbolized protection and wisdom. Athena, Greek Goddess of Wisdom, made the owl her favored creature.
Next to Ravens, Owls are a very special bird for me. They're beautiful and mysterious, and mostly hard to find - if you do see one, consider yourself lucky. One of my great jobs was doing spotted owl surveys. I've gotten to hold spotted owls when we banded them.
This spring I've been quite lucky to find several owl nests in the area - 2 long-eared owl nests and 2 great horned owl nests.
This is a family of great horned owls down the creek whose progress I've been following. The three babies always looked quite fierce when I checked on them, although they never showed alarm. Mom and dad pretty much totally ignored me.
May 6, the nest was suddenly empty! Did they fledge already? Those fluffy balls of feathers surely weren't able to fly already! We'd had a terrible wind storm the night before, and I was so afraid they'd blown out of their exposed nest, maybe fallen in the creek right below the tree, and drowned.
I hiked to their nest, and this is what I found: all three babies had indeed fledged! (It takes 35 days from hatching to fledging - leaving the nest.) They were all in 2 trees 50 yards up and across the creek. Two were hanging out with mom and dad, and one sat in a tree by himself.
Owl's well that ends well for this owl family.
(Really, there's just nothing cooler than Ravens and Owls.)