Saturday, January 24, 2009

That ain't no barn owl.

So last spring, our Great Horned owls left. Their babies must not have made it, and they took off. A few smaller owls moved in and I kept studying them thinking "Those don't look big enough to be Great Horneds. Maybe they're the babies." My husband thought they were simple barn owls just moving in to fill the void left by the big owls. I think he was right.

For the last few weeks we've heard incessant hooting once twilight hits. It's beautiful until you notice one of your kittens has gone missing.

A few days ago, I saw one sweeping out of a tree into the field. It was amazing to watch. Until I noticed another kitten was gone.

They've been here two weeks and we've lost two kittens. The rest are now hunkering down in the barn and under the massive, protective tree between the barn and the house. Only the momma and Ghandi go out now, and they don't go out after dark. The first year we were here I watched the largest Great Horned owl go after Ghandi. I remember that. So does Ghandi.

So the big boys are back. I'd forgotten how big they are. It is awe-inspiring. But I'm keeping an eye on my kittens. I think they've learned, though.

Have you ever been looked at by an owl whose head looks as if its as big as yours? Let me see if I can find a picture from our first year here...

OK, all I could find are some pictures I took of their babies, but you can get an idea of the size of the adults, since these are babies and they're as big as barn owls. There are two in this picture.

But more cranky than barn owls. Look at those eyes.

Just looking at those pictures makes me feel warm and frost-free. Sunlight bouncing off the pine needles... I remember I was cleaning out my rhubarb patch that day and I was hot. I've nearly forgotten hot. We need warm weather again. Only three more months - that's nearly around the corner. Or not. *sigh*


Christy said...

That's scary that they will take kittens! But they are beautiful.

Heart Rockin Mama said...

Oh, my. They are beautiful.
Sorry about the kittie.

Cindy said...

So the barn owls have been chased away, huh? Those eyes are pretty scary on the big owls. Yikes!

Anonymous said...

owls totally freak me out. They look so cranky, and they don't blink...just stare at you with cranky eyes. That's enough for me.

But the kittens! That's just too much!

Lisa said...

Oh my, the poor kittens. How is that nature is so cruel and beautiful at the same time? I love these don't get to see an owl everyday, in your own tree never the less.