the return of our friendly backyard barred owl family
I figured I’d start this week off to slow down a bit from Craft Revival prep and share a story.
It was mid July of 2017, I was on our evening walk with the dogs and while making our way through our lovely cedar grove I saw out of my peripheral something above me. At first I thought it was just a crow, but when I looked up, high up into the tree I was just barely able to make out this owl staring back at me in the shadows above. And that was our first encounter.
The next day, I went about my evening walk again, lo and behold, this feather lay on the path before me. It was after that I did some research and figured out that it was a barred owl.
Now that year, I don’t recall any other encounters with that owl, nor did I really think much of it. Until May of 2018..
I remember having just come home from a drive up to camp, we were now all hanging out in the living room when we saw something just out the east window down at the pond. Our eyes scanning the area looking for what caught our eye. And then we saw it, a barred owl perched in a little birch tree on the edge of the pond. Very quickly we realized there was not only one, but two owls hanging out around our pond! What a magical surprise indeed.
Then, the strangest things happened, one of the owls flew down to the small stream that drains out of the pond and appeared to be fishing? And flapping around its wings. We had never seen anything like it.
That year we heard their calls from spring till autumn, and then winter arrived and we didn’t hear from them for a while.
But as the seasons came back around again we were relieved to hear them hooting away in the woods around our house.
So, now we enter spring/summer 2019. We hear the owls communicating back and forth most afternoons and into the evening, and it brings a smile to my face every time.
It’s June, early evening when we come home from camp and the owl is perched in a skinny little birch tree on the side of our driveway as we pull in. I rush to grab my camera when I get to the house and kick off my shoes (to avoid the crunching of gravel under my feet) and begin my walk up the driveway in hopes to get a good, clear picture of them.
Honestly I am still in awe of this photo. I can’t believe I was able to take this. I am so grateful.
This photo is the one that inspired my owl moon design that I released in the fall of 2019. Another thing I am very proud of. Honestly, there are some days where I look at that print and I go “I drew that?? Holy shit??” And I am reminded of my growth as an artist and it’s so exciting.
the owl moon unisex hoodie (no longer available) (also that dog hair life....)
Now, for our final time jump in this story. We emerge into June 2020.
This is the year where we actually found which tree they’re nesting in. I walk by it every time I take the dogs for a walk, and sometimes I’ll see a little head poking out of the hole. But this time I saw something else..
A BARRED OWL BABY!! And that is their nest in the hole of that tree
these pictures were taken on my phone through binoculars and they turned out surprisingly well
In 2020 we saw the owls flying around a lot, much more than any year before. And they were just as vocal, if not more.
In this video here on my instagram you’ll see what I mean. It was the morning of our Country Roads Autumn Market, still too dark to start setting things up, but in behind my parents shop you can hear the owls hooting back and forth and it was just the most wonderful way to start that day, I knew then that the rain would end at it would clear up for us that day. And it was literally the most perfect fall weather we could’ve asked for for our market.
And now, in 2021, I’ve seen the owls a couple of times so far. The first was back at the very beginning of March (which actually felt quite early for them to be coming around).
It was nearly dark, but I saw something fly into a tree out the southern window of the house and it stayed there, it just didn’t feel like a crow to me. So, I went outside with a flashlight and shone it up into that tree and once again, there it sat, one of our barred owls. I went back out with my phone to try and get some semblance of a photo, and here it is. Not clear at all, but exciting nonetheless!
And here I have my most recent encounter and photo, from just two days ago on April 18th.
Hanging out, snoozing in the spruce bog
I hope this story brought you as much joy as these owls bring me daily. They are truly magical creatures and I am so grateful to live where I do and that I get to experience life with them. My Owl Moon design wouldn’t have happened without their presence, so thank you, you wonderful feathered friends.
I’ve still got limited quantities of this t-shirt available, but I am retiring this design now, so if you’d like to adorn yourself with an owl friend hop on over here.