Saturday, April 2, 2011

Whoooo whooo whooo is that?

Livie and I are currently at my parents' house, which is about 140 miles (approximately a 2:30 hour drive) from our house. We got here Thursday evening, after an already long day for me. My schedule?
  • Up at 5:15 AM to study a little, 
  • At 6:30, I get ready, 
  • At 7, I get Livie ready, get my travel mug of coffee in the car, eat a yogurt or have a whey protein drink
  • At 7:30, take Livie to Pre-K then drive nearly an hour to the U of I for two classes back-to-back,
  • 9:30 AM - 12:10 PM, Native American Literature and Early American Literature
  • 12:30 - drive home (it takes a bit to walk about 0.65 mi to the parking garage, lugging a ton of books)
  • 1:30 - Lunch and load up the overnight bags, portable DVD player, DVDs, 2-3 of Liv's stuffed animals
  • 2:30 - Pick up Liv and drive the 2 1/2 hours to Abuelita's

So . . . when Andrew is doing his Reserve weekend, we head to Abuelita and Nonno's house so Livie can spend time with them while I goof off on my laptop at the local library study. Yesterday, Abuelita took Livie to get a manicure (a new monthly "tradition" for them) and went to see a movie. Today they're making a cake.

My parents live in a really wooded area. There is quite a bit of "wild" life around here. Lots of deer, some raccoons (the word raccoon, by the way, has its origin in the Powhatan tribe's Algonquian language), possums, birds native to Iowa, and the next door neighbors' chocolate lab, Bentley (or Bailey, or boo boo, or some other two-syllable name starting with B). I should know his name by now, because they're always yelling it when he runs over to jump on me.

Well, anyway . . . yesterday morning, while we were in the kitchen, my dad comes over and points out the window above the sink. He asks me if I see the white tree down the hill a way, with the huge nest in the high branches. Why, yes, I see it. Why?

He hands me a pair of binoculars and has me look closely.

There's a HUGE owl in the nest. This bird is MASSIVE!!

Its back was to us at the time, but I could easily see the two tufted "ears" poking up on the top of its head.

I couldn't stop watching it. It sat there, occasionally swiveling its head around. It was so cool to look at.

At some point I headed to the library to study, but when I headed back for lunch, I grabbed the binoculars and looked again. It was still there. I then remembered they're nocturnal, right? No wonder it was still there.

Then later in the evening, around dusk, I looked at it again, thinking it might be heading out soon, if it hadn't already gone. But it was still there. It looked like it was trying to get comfortable, doing an intricate "dance," lifting a gigantic wing, putting its head down, shifting its weight, and then repeating with the other wing.

It dawned on me that perhaps it's incubating eggs! Because it was still there as I watched through the binoculars in the fading light.

This morning it was still there, but it had turned itself around at some point and was now facing the house. I was still looking at it, absolutely fascinated, when my dad came into the kitchen. I asked, "Do you think it has eggs in that nest?"

"Oh, yeah. I'm sure it does."

"I can't stop looking at it. It was doing a 'dance' last night at dusk, like it was trying to get comfortable, rearranging eggs, maybe?"

"I'm sure it has eggs. I've been trying to see it during a 'shift change.' You see, there has to be a pair of them. They take turns with the eggs. . .the owl will abandon the eggs if there isn't a mate."

Huh. I didn't know that. Then he described how they arrange the eggs and "sit" on them while they're incubating them, and said it's similar to how pigeons "sit" on and incubate their eggs. (He used to breed and race homing pigeons, so that's how he knows about pigeons).

I like these unexpected learning moments.

And now enough procrastination. I have to get back to my school work.


Nancy said...

Wow -- you are a busy girl!

What a neat moment you and your dad shared concerning the owl sighting. Parents can still teach us a thing or two, can't they? :)

Lisa @ Two Bears Farm said...

That is so cool! You need to find someone with a telescopic lens to get a shot of your owl friend.

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