Thursday, April 17, 2014

O is for..........Owls.

I've always been fascinated by owls. I lived in Wisconsin and Minnesota for most of my life, and while I'm sure they were all around me, I never actually saw one in the wild until I moved to the desert. Now I see them all the time.

Our first house in Tucson was in the middle of town, so I didn't see any there. Our current house is on the outskirts of town, near a National Park. All the lots in our neighborhood are fairly large, with natural desert yards. We get a lot of owls out here.

I saw my first owl about a month after we moved in. I was turning off the lights outside when I noticed this little guy. He just sat there staring at me. I'm sure the poor guy was paralyzed with fear. I had plenty of time to get Meg and the camera. That was eight years ago now, but my eyes still go to that spot every night when I close up, hoping for a return visit.

We see Great Horned Owls quite frequently. I don't have any pictures to share, but man, they are so cool. Our neighbors had this dead tree in their yard, and the Great Horneds loved to perch at the top, surveying the land for prey. They would just sit up there, hooting away. The neighbors took the tree down a while back, and unfortunately we don't see as many Great Horneds these days. 

I remember lying in bed one night and the hooting was particularly loud, it was like the owl was in the room with us. It sounded so close, we went outside to look for it. A giant Great Horned Owl was right on the old TV antenna directly over our bedroom. It was so cool we got the girls out of bed to check it out. 

This little guy is around so much we had to give him a name. We named him Horatio, but at some point the girls decided we should add Papa to his name in honor of my dad. So now our little friend is Papa Horatio. I believe Papa Horatio is a Western Screech Owl. There's a hole in the brick he's on, and there are normally birds nesting there. Papa Horatio shows up every so often for a feast, hangs out for a while, and then he's gone. This owl spends so much time at our house, I've actually toyed with the idea of getting a falconer's glove and trying to train it. I told the girls I was thinking about training Papa Horatio one time and they nearly lost their minds laughing. Yeah, guess I'll just settle for taking pictures.    


  1. I have an aunt that collects all things owl. I guess that I never really thought about them much one way or the other since I NEVER see them. But your Papa Horatio is pretty darn cute. He looks like he is about to say something in the last picture...

    1. He does, probably something like "who is this crazy person bugging me all the time."

  2. Owls are beautiful. We see them at dusk on occasion. When my great-grandmother was a very little girl, she once tried to run away from home. She used to tell about how scared she got in the woods after dark that night, and how an owl asking her "Whoooo? Whoooo?" over and over scared her into running back home, because no matter how often she answered by telling him her name, he kept asking! She would laugh and laugh when telling that.

  3. Owls are totally cool. Years ago, while on a deer hunting trip, our younger son was sitting in a tree stand in the early morning when an owl swooped down about ten yards from him and snagged a squirrel. I think that was the highlight of the trip for him. Actually, I know it was. In all the years he and my hubby went hunting together, he never had any interest in actually shooting anything, but he always came home with a great wildlife story.

    Yes, owls are totally cool. It'd be terribly handy to be able to do that head-swivel like they do, wouldn't it?

    Thanks for signing on as a new follower. I do appreciate it. Go figure! I took the month off from blogging, and I've picked up half a dozen new followers in my absence. That kinda cracks me up...

    Anyhow, it's my pleasure to return the favor. Count me in as your newest groupie.

  4. It may be the Harry Potter fan in me, but I totally want an owl. Happy A to Z.