As May opens, late spring wildlife breeding season is in fuzzy, feathery baby-oriented swing. Welcome to Wildlife Wednesday and with a few shots, I’m celebrating mommies, daddies, and babies!
Weeks ago, on a chilly, blustery day, I visited the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center where photos of flowers proved nearly impossible because of the whoosh of winds. However, the resident Great Horned owl, named Athena and her 2018 offspring, rested quietly in their nesting spot above the entry to the courtyard, providing a good show for admiring wildlife fans.
I gaggled and goggled at the beauties, but Athena was unimpressed with me and probably, a bit tired. All the humans were agog at the owls; it’s not often that we are privileged to see such birds up-close.
I looked for Athena’s mate, who was probably perched in a nearby tree, but didn’t see him. Those who visit the center near to closing time have witnessed him bringing Athena and the babies a snack. Good daddy!
The babies are expected to fledge any day now–if they haven’t already.
For the first time in nearly a decade, no Eastern Screech-Owl, Megascops asio, set up a nursery in my garden. I’ve missed hosting an owl family: mommy and daddy working together, raising fluffy chicks to fledge, and then observing the family for another couple of months as the parents feed–and teach hunting skills–to their raptor offspring.
I only heard and saw one owl, who trilled sadly for a mate, with no return calls from another. He or she rested for one day in our nest box, but apparently never found his or her true love. Several neighbors in my part of the neighborhood used rat bate during the spring and winter and I suspect that the poisons killed some of our neighborhood adult Screech owls; currently, there isn’t an adult population in our neighborhood.
Please don’t use poisons–of any sort. The collateral damage to other creatures exists and has devastating consequences throughout the food-chain. It’s never only the critters targeted who die. Leave unwanted and unwelcome rodents to the raptors and rat snakes–that’s their role in the ecosystem and they fulfill that role admirably–if we let them.
Wishing Athena and critters everywhere success and safety in raising their families. Diversity is the key to a healthy environment and we’ll all pay a steep price if that diversity continues to decline.
Kudos to mommies and daddies who love and protect their babies!
What wildlife happenings did you share in or observe this past month? Please post about your wild happenings and leave a link when you comment here–and happy wildlife gardening!