Wednesday, April 7, 2010
The first time I heard a barred owl was on the day we moved into his neighborhood by the Flint River.The floodplain behind our new house is thick with trees and it darkens earlier than does our back yard.That night...hoot...hoot..hoot came from the dark and it was more than a little frightening.What was that?
Today, I hear the owls calling to each other in the woods in mid-afternoon and they have become one of the many voices that sing to me of Georgia.The Cornell University Bird site notes that their numbers are increasing and I am glad to know that.This information would have been of little comfort on that sad spring day when my youngest son came back from canoeing to tell that in the woods he found a dead barred owl on its back with its feet cut off. This was so upsetting to him,the lover of all living things,the defender of snakes,the naturalist.
Was the bird killed for his feet? For what?This was 15 years ago and what happened perches in the back of my mind and festers there.And I didn't even see the poor creature.What I do recall is the utter powerlessness that I felt to say anything to make it better.To make sense of it.
I remember reading about a woman who wrote to a local paper advising that no one should look for the first robin of Spring because she had just found him shot by the creek.Why do people do these things? Look at those brown eyes encased there in that beautiful feathered head, all innocence and majesty.We are privileged to share space with such a wonderful creature.Do I hear an "Amen?"