-The first photo is mama owl and the first two babies she brought into our yard. Little did I know papa owl was bringing over baby number three later in the day.
-Photos 2 and 3 are two of the babies
-photos 4,5,6 are of papa owl preening and loving on his baby. He fed her and then cleaned each of her wings and her face.
-photo 7 are 2 of the babies loving on each other. They play and snuggle and even fall asleep on each other
-photo 8 is one of the babies
– The last few photos are of the mama and papa owl
Four years ago a mother owl brought her 2 babies to our yard. One of the babies had an injured leg. After speaking with wildlife rehab I was told to keep watching and sending updated and videos because it seemed the injured owl was healing on her own and being taken care of. Her mother stayed with her for many more months than usual, as did her sibling. The three owls stayed in our yard until they were grown and healed and flew away. The following year at the same time the previously injured owl returned with her babies! She has come back every year since but I have never seen her mate until now!
I only call her “Owl” and she often comes out to greet me and land on a tree above my head. I have long conversations with her and she with me. Just last night my daughter videotaped her over my head as I arrived from a walk in my wheelchair and she just landed right there above my head. It is quite a sight to see. Her babies have been named: Willow (she is the biggest) Johnson (is the smallest but is the best hunter) and Chrysanthemum (she has a huge personality).
For over a month each parent has taken turns sleeping and hunting round the clock. Last night we heard them from 2am until 5am. Today they were out hunting from noon until 3pm. Just like humans, the babies are fed every few hours. The babies are also learning how to hunt which only means they are hopping around on the ground like bunnies, coming up empty handed, then crying for food. Mama and papa take turns napping. Mama and papa are in constant communication. The babies pretty much just cry round the clock to be fed as they are learning how to fly and hunt.
Out of everything I have seen, it is the love that has blown me away. I cried when I watched the father fly to his crying daughter, feed her, preen her, sit next to her. He made sure she felt safe, fed, and protected. I never knew what that felt like and an OWL provided that for his daughter.
I watched the two sibling play and fall asleep on each other. They watch each other hunt and try to mimic one another. They do not fight. They do not bully. They do not steal. They love. The support. They stand side by side. It is incredible. This is something I have never experienced and yet I watched OWLS do it!
The mama loves all of her babies. She rarely sleeps but I’d say papa sleeps even less. Papa owl will feed the mama owl after she has been awake long hours and then she will sleep. He takes care of her AND his babies. She sleeps in the same spot as she always has. For four years she stays in the same places around the yard. The babies will get frustrated with her needing to clean their faces or clean each of their wings and they hop away but she just hops right next to them and keeps on caring. One day I saw the baby crying and she actually opened up her wing and put it around that baby as she fed him. Love. All of these owls love.
I don’t sleep often. I am awake now at almost 2am and looking out the window at 3 of the babies in the live oak with 2 big owls swooping around the. It is so incredible to watch the shadows. Shadows that make me feel safe. Hearing them out there allows me to sleep better somehow. I never felt the safety they feel. I never felt that kind of protection and fierce unconditional love that every one of them has shown. I feel blessed to watch it and to be a part of something so magical. Watching birds have a family that I never experienced growing up is heartbreaking and at the same time healing. It restores my faith in the ability to love and protect. This owl even comes to me as if I were an old friend. She has shown more devotion than my own family has year after year.
Each little hole and loss and absence that my family left me with is being filled by watching these birds. I have a husband and a daughter who fill my life daily with love but that’s not what I’m referring to. I’m referring to old trauma, old wounds, scars, and pain, that left a void. Watching and photographing these birds fills me with joy and hope.
It is my great hope that looking at their bond and love will bring some joy into your day too.