Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Fledgling Enterprise

As planned, the crew headed over to the barn where Big Sis and family know a pair of owls reside. We were instructed that Most-Fun-Uncle would push open the door, then one, maybe two owls would fly out an open window off to the right. Keep your eyes high. This won't last long.

So as the heavy door slid across its rail, we all gathered inward and gazed upward, hoping to see a bird of prey. A bit of a racket, then a large barn owl soared across the barn then out the window. Just as promised. It was amazing to see such a majestic bird at close range. Then another! We were thrilled to have seen both. But we could still hear rustling up in the rafters. A few seconds later, a smaller, more awkward bird flew out into a rough circle and returned to its roost. Still more noise. And another startled youth attempted to drive us away. I excitedly tried to snap pictures, though my old camera labored to focus and flash quickly enough to capture the darting fledglings. We helped the kids up onto a tractor where they could have a better view of the activities. It was clear that they had not been flying long and their intruders had them flustered. We saw at least two of them bump into surfaces and disorient themselves. One managed to land face first on a wooden beam along a wall and floundered to reestablish its balance. Wings slightly downward,it resembled a moth more than the magnificent bird that was. I climbed the tractor in hopes of capturing another image or two of this remarkable sight. And I spied one resting -- perhaps trying to block out the madness of this home invasion.

We counted six babies. Though Big Sis and Most-Fun-Uncle believed the parents might have been nesting, no one anticipated witnessing such a sight. I think my Three Little Diggs saw something few city kids do. I only hope the rest of their week out west brings such wonder.

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