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Posts Tagged ‘great horned owl’

A Morning Hoo

A pair of juvenile great horned owls from two years ago sitting n top of one of my apartment complex’s roof. — Photo by Pat Bean

Old friends pass away, new friends appear. It is just like the days. An old day passes, a new day arrives. The important thing is to make it meaningful: a meaningful friend – or a meaningful day.” — Dalai Lama

Great Horned Owls

It’s still dark when I walk Pepper at 6 a.m. this time of year. Sometimes I try to sleep in, but my beautiful canine companion will have none of that, and so it’s 6:15 when we take our walk – but it’s still dark then, too.

Great owned owl in all its glory. — Wikimedia photo

It’s quiet, too, Mostly. There’s the one guy who walks his cat on a leash the same time I walk Pepper, a couple of people leaving for work, and a clanging gate when one of them forgets to close the gate quietly when they exit.

But it’s silent and peaceful enough that I can enjoy the hoo-ing calls of our resident great horned owls. It’s an eerie sound coming from above, soft and full of nature’s wild things.  Here in the middle of Tucson, I often go to sleep with the yipping of coyotes, and then, more mornings than not, my first greeting of the day is that soft hoo, hoo, hoo from my owl friends.

On a morning like this, which is exactly how I welcomed this day, I can forget for a few minutes that all is not right with the world. And that’s a good thing, don’t you think?

            Bean Pat: A snowy owl https://tinyurl.com/y7pssdek Just another owl tidbit.

Pat Bean is a Lonely Planet Community Pathfinder. Her book, Travels with Maggie, is now up on Amazon at http://tinyurl.com/y8z7553y  You can contact her at patbean@msn.com

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“A serious writer is not to be confounded with a solemn writer. A serious writer may be a hawk or a buzzard or even a popinjay, but a solemn writer is always a bloody owl.” — Ernest Hemingway

Great Horned Owl — Painting by Pat Bean

What Big Beautiful Eyes You Have

Back when I was a normal person and still a working journalist, I found myself eagerly accepting assignments that involved birds, which is how one day I found myself traveling in a van through the Bonneville Salt Flats on Highway 80 between Salt Lake City and Wendover, Nevada, with seven members of HawkWatch International, an organization that monitors raptors as an indicator of the ecosystem’s health.

My goal was to monitor and report on the HawkWatchers.

Eves of a great horned owl. — Wikimedia photo

The first notes I made were about all the birds these seven guys were seeing, mostly turkey vultures and red-tailed hawks. I had driven this route before and had never seen a bird while doing so. That was the day I learned the difference that separates a birdwatcher and a normal person.

Then, after we had entered Nevada and left the interstate and civilization behind, and were driving on an unpaved backroad, one of the guys yelled “Stop! There’s an owl in that cottonwood tree.”

The driver stopped, and all of the guys oohed over the owl, which they had quickly identified as a great-horned. Even after one of the men pointed out to me where the bird was sitting, it took me a couple of minutes to actually see it. But when I did, its giant yellow eyes popped open and it stared straight at me. “Wow” was all I could think as we piled back in the van.

I was well on my way to losing my status as a normal person and becoming one of those crazy birdwatchers

Bean Pat: FrogDiva Thoughts http://tinyurl.com/y7ttlp6q Just do right. A message for these times from my hero, Maya Angelou.

Travels with Maggie, is now available on Amazon at http://tinyurl.com/y9gjlc7r Or for an autographed copy, email me at patbean@msn.com

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“A serious writer is not to be confounded with a solemn writer. A serious writer may be a hawk or a buzzard or even a popinjay, but a solemn writer is always a bloody owl.” – Ernest Hemingway.

This is Gandolf, a great horned owl that my son, Lewis, and I discovered on the side of a road on the Texas Gulf Coast. He was in shock, probably after being struck by a passing vehicle. My son and I suspected. We got him to a wildlife rehabilitator, who dubbed him Gandolf. Three weeks later he was well and released back into the wild. -- Photo by Pat Bean.

This is Gandolf, a great horned owl that my son, Lewis, and I discovered on the side of a road on the Texas Gulf Coast. He was in shock, probably after being struck by a passing vehicle, my son and I suspected. We got him to a wildlife rehabilitator, who dubbed him Gandolf. Three weeks later he was well and released back into the wild. — Photo by Pat Bean.

A Great Horned Owl, That’s Who

            I’m not sure I understand Hemingway’s words. But they’re fun to ponder.

I made this card for a grandson's graduation. It tickles my fancy.

I made this card for a grandson’s graduation. I guess I have owls on the brain, but they tickle my fancy.

Just as it’s been fun to ponder  the great horned owl, whose  hooting has been taunting me awake each morning, and serenading me to sleep each night, for the past two weeks.

The hooter has annoyingly been avoiding my sight, but I finally caught a glimpse of it two days ago from my third-floor balcony window. The owl was sitting, just above my eye level, in a tree about 30 feet away.

Then, early yesterday morning, as I was once again looking for the owner of the hoots coming from the trees, a great horned owl flew directly over my head, wings stretched out like a sheltering canvas. It was big, and it landed on the roof top of an adjacent apartment building.

And this is one of my great horned owl doodles. I did it from memory after the Gandolf incident.

And this is one of my great horned owl doodles. I did it from memory after the Gandolf incident.

Pepper, whom I was walking at the time, and I wandered closer, and the owl briefly looked down on us with its great golden eyes. I was mesmerized, but glad that my canine companion was standing close. This was a mighty big owl, much larger, I realized than the one that I had seen a few days before from my balcony.

A surge of joy, like a big yippee, went through my bones. I suspected my apartment complex was now home to a mating pair of owls. The one I was looking at had to be the female, who is always larger than her male mate.

The big owl didn’t linger, but quickly disappeared beyond the roof line, leaving me pondering where her nest was, and did it already contain eggs. I’m sure I’ll be looking for it every time Pepper and I go walking during February.

The Wondering-Wanderer's blog pick of the day.

The Wondering-Wanderer’s blog pick of the day.

Bean’s Pat: Texas Tweeties http://tinyurl.com/mgovo9e Bringing home dinner. Bob’s one of my favorite bloggers. I’ve been privileged to see an osprey spring from the Snake River, and from a couple of lakes, with a fish in its talons, but it’s a sight worth seeing over and over again.

 

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 “In wilderness I sense the miracle of life, and behind it our scientific accomplishments fade to trivia.” — Charles A. Lindbergh.

My morning visitor -- Photo by Pat Bean

Travels With Maggie

Midges and flies, but thankfully not blood-sucking mosquitoes, were an almost a constant human nuisance during my stay at Lake Walcott. A few even found their way into my RV, which was sad. While I’m very respectful of wildlife, even bugs and snakes, once a wild critter intrudes into my home, it usually ends up being a dead critter. A cute little field mouse discovered this when it nibbled on the tasty peanut butter I had spread on a mouse trap after I had spotted it scooting across my narrow floor.

 But bugs and mice are part of the circle of life. And if you’re a birder you have to appreciate them. These fast-breeding creatures make it possible for the existence of the slower breeding feathered flyers that amaze me. I saw this almost daily at Lake Walcott as the midges provided a tasty meal for a dawn and dusk parade of circling nighthawks flying overhead.

And while they didn’t make a personal appearance, I’m sure the great horned owls that hoo-hoo-hooed me awake each morning dined elegantly on some of the field mice I occasionally saw scampering through the sagebrush. During my

Common nighthawk -- Photo by Mark B. Bartosik

 earlier spring visit to the park, I had been honored to spot a great horned owl nest that had a couple of tiny heads poking above its jumbled wall of sticks. The park is full of huge, magnificent cottonwood trees that I knew from past sightings were favorite nesting spots of these silent flying night hunters.

 One morning I woke to find a four-legged critter poking around my campsite, one that has included human handouts as part of its menu plan. It was a raccoon, whose photo I took from my dining room table while drinking my morning coffee. While he didn’t get any tasty tidbits from me, I saw evidence of his dining habits in the wake of trashed tin garbage cans most mornings.

 When Maggie finally noticed our visitor, she barked excitedly. The raccoon appeared familiar with such nonsense. It merely stared for a moment at our RV, then slowly sauntered back into the brush behind the campground. I hoped he found something tasty out of the trash can I later picked up on my morning walk through of the campground.

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