Whoo’s That?

I love birds of prey. Always have. Always will. I’m delighted that we have a pair of red tails that claim the high tension towers as their perches during the day. Even when they decide to make the occasional meal out of one of my ducks (when I have ducks). Every spring we’re regaled with the raucous cries of the young hawks who think mom and dad should still be hunting for them even though they can soar through the skies with the best of them. It gets a bit annoying after a time, and I’m sure their parents feel the same way.

A mile or so down the road from us is a pond that the DNR placed an Osprey perch in. It’s claimed every year by a nesting pair. Every so often they fly over. That brings the hawks out in what I’m guessing is a territorial dispute. There are high aerial displays, and much screeching of what sounds like thinly veiled threats. This goes on until the Ospreys decide to head elsewhere.

We also have a pair of Great Horned Owls. They’re my favorites, though I hear them more than see them. They make some truly interesting and downright terrifying sounds. I’ve had a couple close encounters with them. Last year one was in the lower limbs of the tree right beside the garage. He gave me an owl tongue-lashing when I inadvertently disturbed him, then launched out of the tree and directly over my head. Yes, I ducked.

A couple years ago we rescued a juvenile Great Horned with a broken wing. That was an adventure. Trust me, the beak and talons even on a young Great Horned are something to observe. And he was not a happy camper at all. Wish I would have gotten pictures of him, but I was too busy trying to get him safely into a dog crate and off to the rehab lady. Last word I had on him was that he was doing fine, but never healed well enough to be released.

I had begun to wonder if my owls were gone because I hadn’t heard them as much as usual. The last several nights they have assured me they are still around. This morning I heard them loud and clear, and found they are the nocturnal guardians of the tower to the east.

Early sunrise. You can just make out the owls on the top of the tower.

Early sunrise. You can just make out the owls on the top of the tower.

These pictures are horrible because I was too far away, and didn’t have my tripod handy. I wound up balancing the camera on the fence post, so you get my owls in silhouette.

leftie

rightie

I hung around while they called back and forth to one another, enjoying the slow climb of the morning sun over the swells of ground fog. Eventually they dropped silently from their perch, gliding off to the woods. I’m so glad they’re back from wherever they’d been keeping themselves.

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