Friday, April 29, 2016


Barred Owl

We are all visionaries,
and what we see is our soul in things.

Henri Amiel

In her poem "White Owl Flies Into and Out of the Field," Mary Oliver described an owl she once observed as "an angel, or a Buddha with wings."  This imagery has frequently resurfaced in my mind during the past week as I have studied the daily habits of the male barred owl pictured above, his mate, and the two young owlets that were born to the couple just a few weeks ago, and who are now in their fledgling phase.

On the day after first sighting the large male, I discovered him again, sitting on the limb of a tree within 25 feet of our front porch.  As soon as I peered through the viewfinder of my camera, a young owlet peeped out of a rotten cavity in an adjacent tree, informing me for the first time that this was a springtime family affair.  A couple of days later, two owlets emerged from the top of the rotten tree and eventually developed the courage to jump to a branch.  Since then, they have been struggling to understand their bodies, especially the large wings, while simultaneously trying to survive aggressive crow attacks and the piercing eyes of the red-shouldered hawks which are also abundant in these woods.  Through it all, the large male has been truly amazing, providing the young owlets with broad latitude to fail as they experiment with life, yet always ready to swoop down when necessary to protect them from predators.

Set forth below are some of the images I have taken of the barred owls, especially the young owlets.  Enjoy.

With this post, I hope to begin posting on a more regular basis.  It's been thirteen months since my last post, a sabbatical that happened without design as I simply tried to spend more time in the moment — and in movement.