Saturday, February 26, 2011

February 26: Owl in the Sun

Everyone's been seeing owls this winter. My husband and I saw a barred owl on the Christmas Bird Count, and several others were spotted that day. A friend regularly sees a barred owl on Beech Hill in Rockport. A co-worker in Appleton has seen three different owls in the past month. His partner saw at least two barred owls while she was just driving around running errands in Camden the other day. Bird rehab clinics in Maine are reporting record numbers of owls being brought in, mostly year-old barred owls that have been hit by cars. Must have been a bumper crop of owls last year.

After looking carefully during several long drives, I thought my own sightings this season were going to be limited to the one in December. But today my husband and I discovered a barred owl in the most unexpected place. We were leaving the YMCA in Camden after our morning workout when I heard Bohemian waxwings calling. So I stood around in the parking lot for a while (long enough for two different people to drive by and ask me what I was looking at) until I spotted a couple of these beautiful birds in a big spruce tree. I was happy. I'd heard and seen several flocks this winter, but nothing up close. But the morning got even better, because as we were driving out of the parking lot, there was the barred owl, eyes closed, roosting on a branch in the full sun. We paused for a moment to admire it, smiling at each other with shared joy. It's always cool to see an owl. Especially when you least expect to.

Even this owl must
enjoy feeling sunlight's warmth
after so much snow.

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