Sunday 10 February 2013

Home Invasion

    As we began to enter the field down by the Fraser River, I noticed some dried plant debris scattered on top of the snow.  As I approached it and saw more clearly what it was.   I knew that it was a mouse nest that had been under the snow, that had been destroyed.  I assumed it must have been done by a hungry coyote.
    As I investigated further, I noticed the 3 pronged tracks of a big bird in the snow, and further away, the imprint of spread wings.  Then I realized that it must have been the work of an owl.  
    Two Januarys ago, I was in this very field, when I watched a great grey owl swoop from his perch on a tree, down to the surface of the snow on the field.  He landed, then stood quietly listening.  He suddenly gave a small jump, landing claw first deep in the snow.  He held this position for a while, then lowered his head to his claws, and when he raised it, he had a mouse in this mouth.
    I found it incredible that he could pinpoint the area of a mouse under the snow, from his perch on a tree, and once on the snow, how he could tell exactly where that mouse was.
    The photo below is a shot of that encounter I had with the owl in 2011.

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