Owl Diary: Wednesday 1/23

Ground squirrels, three of them, occupied the east owl’s occasional topside position in front of the concrete slab with the big white dot this morning. An observer standing on the paved trail outside the fenced area could see no owls.

Once again I had to step over the fence on the south side of the area and set up my tripod in the Open Circle viewpoint, aka the Spiral, to see the bird. Even in that hideaway, the owl had to do its “I’m very big and fierce” number to face down a squirrel. After that, the owl made a poop and then climbed behind its rock and under its brush awning, where it settled down to its usual daytime routine of standing still and swiveling its head. Here is a short video:

Minutes later, I had the pleasure of seeing the north owl in its habitual position, taking in the morning sun. Two groups of passing park visitors peered in my camera’s screen and saw the bird, and expressed their delight. One said, as have so many others, that she had wanted to see an owl for a long time without luck, and today was the first time. Another said that she saw many “tecolotes” in Mexico but thought that America did not have any, until just now. I have portions of the dialogue on the sound track in the first video below. The north owl, with its patience and openness to observation, deserves some kind of medal for introducing numerous humans to the owl species and to the wonders of Cesar Chavez Park. I was concerned, however, by one park visitor who walked halfway down the path to get a closer image on her cell phone. Possibly we should put up a little fence there with a warning sign to prevent people unduly stressing the owl.

After viewing the owl from the path for a while, I moved west to the little triangular promontory and took some video of the owl from that angle. As luck would have it, the owl just then did some preening and stretching; this is always interesting because it shows motions and portions of the owl that you don’t see when it’s standing still swiveling its head.

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