Wednesday, October 20, 2010

An Owl for Gabe

Late nights, and early, early mornings, we have been hearing a most magical sound. It's exactly what the owls in movies sound like: hoo hooo hoo hoo! We haven't seen the owl, but Massachusetts Audubon has a lovely report-an-owl-sighting page that includes recordings of owl calls. As it turns out, most owls don't make that distinctive "hoot". What we have been hearing is a great horned owl!

Being an elusive night visitor, we have no photos of our wild owl. Instead, here are some images of Merlin, a rescued great horned owl who was presented at a raptor show last year. (Click here to see photos of the whole raptor show.)

The funny side effect of hearing an owl is Gabe's reaction. I keep encouraging him to listen for the owl. So, one night, he turns toward the dark window and announces: "I eat the owl". He proceeded to stand there with his mouth open, as if an owl would fly in!

The owl has been a reoccurring theme for him ever since. Sometimes we joke about eating owls; at other times he announces randomly that he is afraid of the owl! But now he almost always follows up with "the owl is nice," because we want to teach him that our local animals are nothing to be afraid of.

But I suppose when you are two, an animal that eats mice might just seem big enough to eat you, too.

I'll have to show him this photo from the raptor show:

Thanks Merlin, you were a good sport!


Anonymous said...

Owls are such cool animals. I found an injured one once along the side of the road. I got the welding gloves on that I carry in my Jeep and took it to the vet. It sat quietly on the floor mat for the short ride. Lucky me since I did not have a pet carrier in the truck. I prayed he could be saved. The vet did what he could and then sent him to a rehabilitator. I never did find out his fate. Lovely owl pictures.

Karen said...

Owls are fantastic, and boy, can they make some hair-raising noises, too. I guess it should be hare-raising noises, since they love to catch rabbits, too. You have some wonderful pictures of those big eyes...Gabe is very lucky to have parents who teach him all about Nature!

Michelle said...

Thanks guys! Garden, that was mighty good of you to take the owl to the vet. Karen, I forgot to credit my husband for the beautiful photos. :)