[CT Birds] Affronted Owl

Steve Mayo and Rebecca Horowitz rsdmayo at sbcglobal.net
Mon Oct 6 11:17:26 EDT 2014

Yesterday's discussion with Frank Gallo (about the legendary Ed Shove) and last night's hooting of a neighborhood Great Horned, got me to thinking of owls.  So this morning's walk, instead of taking any country roads (in the wooded central Bethany open spaces) I decided to head exclusively into the woods.  'Ticked Pileated Woodpecker, 2 Com Ravens harassing an overhead RT Hawk, FOS Junco (winter's coming), the usuals (RB Woodpecker, Blue Jays, feeding flocks of Titmouse Chickadee, YR Warbler).

Walking near a Hemlock ravine, I remembered stumbling upon a perched Barred Owl in similar habitat, during a Summer Bird Count.  I proceeded up the hill.  

5 minutes later I noted two brown eyes up in a tree, staring at me from the spruces.  I'm usually a well-behaved Hominid, knowing to take a quick glance and immediately averting my eyes and moving slowly by.  Instead, I did something a bit inappropriate.  I stared and gave out a short laugh.  It was a soft but sudden laugh, apparently in emotional reaction to my dumb luck of finding a Barred Owl staring back at me.  The Owl took three curmudgeonly, slow, awkward steps, it's wings only very slightly open at the shoulder to balance.  Moving like one of those giant Jim Henson puppets, it turned it's back to me.   

"Don't fly" I heard myself whisper.  After 2 seconds it flew silently (has anyone heard an owl fly noisily?) away to a tree, 40 feet away.  I moved on, my day already being "made".

Steve Mayo

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