An Owl Story

Just the other day, my son and I were having a conversation about animals, and he asked me what my favorite animal was. I explained that I could not choose–dogs, cats, chickens, donkeys, elephants, squirrels, Eastern Phoebes…How can one choose a favorite animals?

“My favorite is the owl,” he said.

“Oh, that’s a cool favorite,” and I added that owls, though magnificent, are scary to me because I am a chicken and duck mama. I told him about the video I saw of what an owl does to a duck and that I was kind of scarred for life from it.

He understood, but we both agreed that an owl has to eat too and that they are, indeed, magnificent animals.

Two nights later, I would have a close encounter with an owl that I just have to write about.

It started with a perfect storm of circumstances, as these stories always seem to do. I was really hungry, and it was late. I decided to go ahead and eat dinner quickly before putting up the ducks, which now includes an Anna Maria rodeo because she doesn’t like sleeping in the bathroom.

Of course, there is no choice, so I rodeo every night. She complains and fights me. I tell her this is for her own good. She doesn’t believe me. I give her peas, put her in her nest. That’s what we do every night now. Then, I work to get the rest of the ducks put up. They love to party late during the summer, so it’s all a bit of a chore.

Anyway, it was getting pretty dark by the time I finished dinner. On top of this, Bairre was in a mood because he didn’t get to have for dinner what we had for dinner, so he was doing his “thing” when he’s being difficult and doesn’t touch the ducks because he’s not supposed to but gets really close to them to make them upset. The ducks are just fine when Boudica is near them, but Bairre cannot yet be trusted. I don’t blame them. He’s such a puppy still, and his track record is sketchy.

I managed, despite Bairre causing his chaos, to get Anna Maria caught and put up. By the time I headed back outside, the ducks were acting really strange. I thought maybe it was just Bairre, but it seems a little extra. I was making my way around to the corner to go see what was going on when I heard the owl–and it was in the tree right above my head!

I was panicked. It made some sounds that did not sound good for my ducks. For a second, I just froze, trying to calculate how quickly I might be able to get to the ducks. Thanks to Bairre, they were out in the middle of the yard. Usually, when it gets even close to dark, they will stay under the deck or near the house. But they were out there in the wide open, and an owl was on it.

I began hollering for Ron or our son for help, but I was pretty sure they weren’t coming. Ron was in the basement, and our son, who was outside, was wearing his AirPods. He always has those things in his ears. He listens to music every second he’s awake if he can, and it gets a little old when I’m trying to get his attention and have to hunt him down. Anyway, I was cursing those AirPods.

I heard the owl make a wild sounding call again right as it flew out of the tree. It was right over my head and going right toward the ducks. In hindsight, it was magnificent to see–those wings right over my head. There was a small amount of light left in the sky, just enough to for me to see the silhouette and some under-feather patterns. My goodness! It was beautiful. Its wingspan was about three feet. I think it was a Barred owl, but I definitely didn’t hear “Who cooks for you?”

The only thing I knew to do, as I could see it was going to be on the ducks in one second and it would probably take me at least 10 seconds to get there, was throw my hands in the air and scream, “NOOOOOOO!”

Just as it made a swoop to the ground, Bairre came bounding around, clueless to the owl but aware enough to see that something was wrong because of the way I acting. Either his presence or mine was enough to make the owl move on. A sense of such relief fell over me.

I started hollering again for Ron, and he finally heard me and came outside to get Bairre, as Bairre clearly had to be put in the house and I clearly couldn’t leave the ducks alone.

Ron got Bairre put up, and I got the ducks put up (they went up super fast, no partying). All was well.

But I was thinking, “there is surely never a dull moment around here, is there?”

photo credit: Sonder Quest, Unsplash

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