Yesterday as I walked north toward the owl sanctuary, two park visitors coming south volunteered that the owls were not to be seen. Neither of them. When I reached the area, I was able just barely to see the First Owl. It had hunkered down so low that just the top of its head could be seen from the paved path. But the Second Owl was indeed not visible. I hung around for a while on the chance that the bird was just hiding in its borrowed burrow waiting for some overhead raptor to go away. But no luck. I carefully scanned the meadow in the Nature Area on the north side, where owls have roosted in some previous years. Nothing. So it was with some anxiety that I revisited the scene this morning. I’m happy to report that the Second Owl was back in its usual spot. The video above shows it awake and alert. The First Owl was also in its usual place, up higher than yesterday. Visitors who knew where to look could easily see at least its head and shoulders.
The owls this season occasionally take a day off. This was also the case in the winter of 2018-19 when two owls remained resident throughout the winter months. The “North Owl,” in particular, sometimes disappeared for a day or two or even three, and could not be found, but then returned.
I chatted with one park visitor this morning who had been told that the owls had nicknames, like dogs or cats. This makes me uncomfortable. The owls are not our pets. We have a duty to protect them, but we do not own them. They are wild animals.