happy and sad owls

it now appears i will be unable to venture into the cold, late march nights without freezing my nordic skiing-toned buttocks off.  i hate when that happens.  lows around zero through sunday and when the warming comes, it isn’t going to be much of a warming. 

i should have known that taunting the gods of winter was not a good idea.

last night, i made several sorties to the deck to see what was going on with the male saw-whet.  indeed, he has got it all going on…bouncing around the aspen, then spruce, then back to the cavity with an excited song that tells the seasoned owl observer that the first step towards fecundity has been taken by his new strigidaen neighbor. 

the last pair of saw-whets calling my homestead their homestead, didn’t get going until mid-may. usually, that timing suggests a couple of kids trying to act like grown-ups and like kids, the only thing they got right was copulating. i’ve seen it many times with many owls and successful pairs are typically experienced at being a successful pair, or a contributing component thereof.  in 2002, i banded a nesting female boreal and 2 years later, retrapped her at a new nest a mile down the road. only the ravenous appetite of a carousing pine marten interrupted her earnest efforts to send owlets into the night. 

but please, don’t get me started on nest predation…like in 2006 when i lost over 10 nests to a group of predators whose efforts stopped only when there wasn’t anything left to eat. or 1991, when i left a boreal nest at 3 in the morning and came back the next night and everything was gone.  the male came in with a food delivery and (i don’t do this often) i listened to his plaintive wailing for 2 hours. it was one of my few anthropomorphic moments in 25 years of owling.

 meanwhile, i will do some surveys tonight and hope i find a pair of owls that are in love and seem happy and get lonely when the other leaves.  

okay,  i’m just going to do some surveys.  whatever else happens is beyond my control.          

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About borealbilly

i am cursed by nocturnal self-awareness. View all posts by borealbilly

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