As well as checking out what’s happening off the back porch around dawn, I also try to take some exercise around sunset – I love walking out in the desert and getting to experience the hugeness of the sky away from the houses. In addition to the sunsets I also come in contact with the local wildlife.
Recently I came across an owl burrow. For those of you who don’t live here or who aren’t avid birders, yes, we have owls that build nests in the ground – they’re called (surprise) burrowing owls. Personally I think they should be called giggling owls, because that’s what they sound like when the hoot – er – giggle. I thought I would come back periodically to this nest and perhaps get to see owlets being raised. A couple days later I returned, navigating via differently shaped bushes, and easily found the nest. However, the next time I returned with the camera, I was shocked to find the burrow had been dug up, and the owl lay dead.
I think the diggers were coyotes, judging by the paw marks but it didn’t make sense that they would kill and not eat. Perhaps owls don’t taste nice. The feathers around his neck were possibly the softest thing I have ever felt, and despite the circumstances I realized this might be my once-in-a-lifetime chance to touch a burrowing owl.
A couple days later I was walking down by the shore of the Salton Sea at sunset, and suddenly noticed what my (warped) mind initially interpreted as a pair of angel wings. It turned out to be the remnants of a dismantled pelican. The wing feathers were stiff so unlike the owl’s soft neck, yet they are all feathers. What diversity within the same basic design.
Last night I went back to the owl nest – now the owl has been dismantled and his wings laid out in the same angel pattern. I brought home a few feathers. I hope his mate will find another and nest again.
This afternoon in the studio I was working on a commission – variations on a painting I did a couple years back. Turning the canvas from pelican color to owl color. It’s almost sunset now and I see clouds. Time to grab the camera and head out.