About a Bird: Screech Owl

Pencil of screech owl on plant print with grape leaves and eucalyptus Reference: a photo of a friend’s education bird “Weird Owl”

I have mixed feelings about my relationship with owls. You spend enough time trying to train them and they both enamor you and infuriate you. Training a simple flight to the glove feels like pulling talons with most North American owls. The just don’t seem to logic much, but then, if your hearing was so impressive that you could hear a mole beneath the soil, your eyesight so good that you could see a mouse’s urine trail with UV, and on top of that you were completely silent, you wouldn’t have to logic much either. You only have to search and destroy. It’s impressive and it’s necessary. Not enough owls and there are too many rodents.

I rarely see the owls that live in my neighborhood, but I hear them. The barn owls shriek and click in the spring. During the December “hooting season” the great-horned owls like to sit in the pine outside my bedroom window, so loud they wake me up. I lay in bed imagining nature’s nightshift and a world of activity surrounding my slumber. It’s makes me restless and a little uneasy.

I saw screech owls when I lived in Florida, but I’ve never heard one at the Banning house. They might be here though. You just never know with owls. I hope one day I look up and spot a startled screech owl, it’s ear tufts laid back and it’s eyes saucer-wide peeking through the leaves.

Waiting for Western Tanagers

Western Tanager, colored pencil and graphite on plant print (grape leaves, silver dollar eucalyptus leaves)

The birds seem certain that spring is coming. They are moving through my little town in unexpected flashes of wings I haven’t seen in months, or perhaps more than a year. Surely, as with every year, they passed through in that strange March when everything changed. If they did, I was huddled inside more attuned to my television than birdsong. I wouldn’t have known. It is time to step outside and remember. It is time for so many things to begin again. And I am ready.