Eastern Sierra

Eastern Sierra
Eastern Sierra snow October 2010

Monday, July 9, 2012

Summer vacation and owl sighting

So, I've FINALLY settled into summer vacation.  Phew!  It took a few weeks.  We spent the first week up in a cabin in the Sierra Nevada, then home for a few days.  Then we went to San Marcos, then home now for a while.  It's HOT here in the desert~114 degrees yesterday and it will be 115 today.  We should get some thunderstorms Thursday.  I'm keeping the dogs inside and feeding the outside birds 3x a day.  I leave the hose running for them.  We have mourning doves, black-necked doves, our scrub jay, various finches, and even some grosbeaks who come into the yard.  We used to have a family of quail in our neighborhood, but they lost their habitat when the two-story homes went in down the street.  I did see a roadrunner about a month ago.  We also used to have a family of them here in town, but I didn't see them for several years.  One of them used to chase our little cat, Daisy, down the street!  Our neighbors fed them hamburger!  I'm glad to see the roadrunner again and I miss the quail, but I see them all the time up at the ranch.  I also saw a family with 8 babies down by my aunt's home in Sun City, Indio.  The babies were little fuzzballs!  She had a female roadrunner with 2 babies who would come visit her, but she hasn't seen her for several weeks and she thinks a coyote got them.  Speaking of birds, I found a recently-hit barn owl up by the horse ranch on Saturday.  I was driving down a road looking for hawks (I found one on a telephone pole) and I noticed something in the street.  Thinking it was the mate to the shoe I just saw, I kept on going (being careful to avoid it) and took some other photos.  But, something was nagging at me and I returned.  To my horror, I saw that it was a barn owl, apparently hit by a car.  He was dead, but in beautiful condition.  I moved him off the road, not wishing him further destruction, and took these photos of his feathers. I've been wishing to get a photo of an owl this summer, but not under these circumstances...sigh...I'm reading "Wesley the Owl", which is a book about a barn owl found as a 4-day-old baby.  Wesley had an injured wing and could never be released back into the wild, so a gal who was a researcher at the CalTech owl lab took him and raised him and lived with him for 19 years.  I haven't finished the book yet, but I've learned a lot about owls so far.  The father owl has to hunt for rodents every night and has to furnish at least 6 rodents per baby owl PER NIGHT!  That's a LOT of rodents!!!  Stacy, the author, estimates that she fed Wesley 28,000 mice in his lifetime, at $1.00 each!  If you want more info on Stacy and Wesley, here's a link:   http://www.wesleytheowl.com/

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