There seem to be a lot of readers who like owls (I do, too!), and here are some nice shots from reader Mark (click to enlarge):
Here’s a picture of me with an owl chick. The owls nested and hatched under my patio for the last three years, but didn’t hatch last year.
I asked Mark about the fate of the chick, and got this response and further photos:
That chick left the nest a few days before, but wasn’t yet flying. It had wandered into the yard. I picked it up and brought it back to the patio where I posed with it. Sometimes they got in the pool where I found them standing on the skimmer ledges. At first they threaten you, but seem unafraid. Sometimes the chicks are perched on the patio furniture, and they allow us to stroke their backs. One of the parents hit me in the head once. I’m pretty sure that they are Eastern Screech owls.
Birders, is he right?
I’ll append a quotation about owls from my favorite nature book. I’ve posted this before, but it’s appropriate (“little owls” are a species, Athena noctua, from the Old World):
A little owl’s legs are surprisingly thick and powerful for so small a bird. They look slightly hairy, like an animal’s legs. The whole bird looks completely out of proportion when perching, like a two-legged head. One must try not to be anthropomorphic, yet it cannot be denied that little owls are very funny to watch. In flight, they are just owls, but at rest they seem to be natural clowns. They do not know it, of course. And that makes them much funner, for they always appear indignant, outraged, brimming over with choler. There is nothing funny about their sharp claws and rending beak. They are killers. That is what they are for. But whenever I see one close, in a tree, I laugh aloud.
–J. A. Baker, The Peregrine
Here’s a Little Owl from tinyinc:
Don’t forget to send me your very best animal or plant photos.