After observing a second baby owl in the opening of the tree where they have been nesting, we grew very excited when we finally spotted the young one in an adjoining tree. The first leg of a long journey had begun, and so far it was safe and sound high up off the ground. A sibling did not fare so well and we had to stand by and wring our hands over its demise. We were prepared to intervene for the sake of saving this little baby.
Over the next several days we watched for the little owl, siting him in several locations clustered around the nesting tree. We worried when the winds blew and rains came, wondering if it held on through the turbulence. Each time we spotted the little owl, it had moved a greater distance in a progression of moves that would strengthen its ability to hop and fly a bit.
Owls have beautiful camouflage that makes it hard to pick them out against the tree bark and branches. The white fluff on parts of the baby owl’s body aided us in locating it snuggled into its roosting place.
The adult owl appears to be urging the little one to a new location. Perched out on a broken off limb, the view north is of more trees off in the distance. We saw the little owl the next day perched high in a silver leaf poplar tree looking eastward to a tall hill. Ideally, the next maneuver would be touch-and-go flight patterns from the tree to the hill, which we have observed previously with baby owls. Soon after we heard no more owl conversations and assume they have moved on to a new location. It is our hope they will return in January and start the cycle of nesting and raising their young nearby again.