Just a quick word about my charming owl interlude of last week …
I was sitting at the computer and had just finished reading about the new owlet hatched at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin when something thudded against the window to my left. Nothing there. Another, more gentle thud and low and behold, I was face to face with an owl! He (?) was awkwardly perched on the very narrow sill, feathers plastered against the window glass. We stared at each other in amazement, barely three feet apart. My right hand was ever so lightly creeping over the desk surface in search of the point-and-shoot. Darn, out of the corner of my eye, I could just see the camera’s pale pink silicone skin on a shelf against the opposite wall.
Very, very slowly I rose from my chair trying to pretend not to be moving at all while gliding gently around the desk corner toward the bookcase. Our eyes remained locked throughout my move across the room and his head swiveled in synch with my motion. It was eerie, almost spectral. Then he shattered the moment by taking off in a flash, his talons clicking sharply against the window – precisely as my fingers encircled the camera.
Even though we were gazing at each other for an eternal minute, I can’t recall any details of the bird’s appearance. Clearly an owl, but without the tell-tale heart-shaped face of a barn owl. Small, maybe eight inches, and his plumage was patterned in dark gray. I believe, it was a screech owl, maybe the Western variety, Megascops kennicottii (Linnaeus, 1758), Strigidae.
But whatever his name might be, he was a striking, dark gray creature of beauty with the most piercing and knowing yellow eyes. Wow!