i don’t know what the group of flickers were up to this morning, but considering the overt solicitation and squawking, it bordered on pornographic. i had to avert my eyes.
nature once again is mocking me.
with owl surveys completed, the arduous task of checking nest boxes has begun. as a change of pace, this morning i rode my bike to check my favorite box trail which will soon be denuded of much of its vegetation, given that it lays within what the forest service calls an “opportunity area”. thankfully, the paradigm of health, sunshine, and fitness i attained during my 1000 + km of skiing this winter served me well, and riding the 30 miles was a pleasant diversion.
and we all know how important diversion is to me, the owlman.
the trail consists of 12 boxes, spaced about 1/4 mile apart on a portion of the old sawbill trail. it is rife with diversity…old jack pine, old white pine, rich bottomland spruce, babbling brooks. it will soon be homogenized in the name of opportunity. two of the box trees were painted, meaning they will not be cut, but i have already decided i will remove the boxes because leaving a box on a tree surrounded by stumps is not what i am about.
watching flickers copulate is what i’m about.
going back to 1987, some of my most profound owling moments have occurred on the old sawbill trail. several years ago (warning: anecdote alert) i broke down on a box check, realizing i was grieving for a species that defined everything i have ever accomplished as a biologist and even, as a person. i have been to the boreal owl mountaintop and no one in minnesota will ever go there again.
despite the pedaling and the sense i would be afforded some owl karma, none of the boxes were occupied.
it’s like that sometimes.