Feb 10, 2013

I See Your Owl, and Raise You an Eagle

I think the people who write headlines for newspapers have the funnest job going.   Imagine the glee with which the headline writer for our local Bend paper, The Bulletin, created the above line.

In the same issue that saw a full-page article with photos about our newest wildlife icon,
the barred owl that has recently taken up residence in a busy Bend river park, we were treated to the above headline 'I See Your Owl, and Raise You an Eagle' and the photo below:

This is a bit of an insider joke for locals.  It is a real eagle, for sure, but the tall 'pine tree' it is perched on is a fake.  It is actually a 75-foot AT&T cell tower disguised as a pine tree to better blend in with the surrounding forest, just outside the city limits.  Some might describe it as an extremely tall artificial Christmas tree.   It's not a bad fake, and would be even more inconspicuous if it were planted in the middle of a forest.   This one stands apart from other trees, and although at first glance it could be mistaken for the real thing, a longer, second look makes it obvious it is faux.  

Apparently this is the coming thing for cell towers in scenic and/or populated open areas.   Here's one made by the Nello Company of West Bend, Indiana, which calls them 'monopines'.   

Here is another being assembled:

So we've got an owl.   We've got an eagle.   What will our next wildlife star be?  Ante up, Mother Nature.

Feb 8, 2013

I finally saw the owl

Yesterday I finally saw the barred owl that has been the talk of our town for the last couple of weeks.   My sweetheart and I were finishing up one of our favorite walks along the river, and almost walked right past this guy, who was sitting on a fencepost less then 6 feet away, at eye level.

He (she?) blended in so well with the surrounding vegetation, I nearly missed him.  It was broad daylight, though a bit overcast, at 2:00 pm on a February afternoon, so the sun was weak.   And there he was, not the least bothered by people walking by (stopping to take photos), a busy road 100 yards away, and although he turned his head away from full frontal viewing

he clearly was perfectly at ease, even when I walked right up to him.

His plumage was beautiful!   Fluffy yet silky, with delicious barring and spots.   Well, he IS a barred owl.  I had the strongest urge to reach out and stroke his beautiful feathers!   He reminded me so much of my chickens.   But I resisted mightily and we walked on, watching as other people came up, noticed the owl, and took their own pictures.   Perhaps he knows he is the star of his own movie?