Thursday, April 07, 2005

Screech Owl Babies Growing Up 4/6/05

Huge photo by Lincoln Karim, 4/6/05 taken AFTER the flyout, as one of the fledglings lingered on a branch across the West Drive before descending into the deep dark woods

Owl Babies Getting Bigger

They're getting little ear tufts, the three screech-owl fledglings up in the North Woods. Ever since the discovery of the little owl family on March 19 by Malcolm Morris, groups of worshipers have been gathering every day -- even in the pouring rain -- to watch them end their day of sleeping to take off for the night.

They started out like schmoos, those Lil Abner creatures with round blobbish heads and indeterminate bodies. [See photos somewhere below]These heads were grey and feather, but still shmoo-like. Now they are slowly taking on the narrower, wiser-looking visages of their parents. Of course the word wise is anthropomorphic here. Owls are not the wisest birds by any means. [the crow family wins the intelligence prize.]

Yesterday was the warmest day of the year, by far. It was disconcertingly warm, almost hot, as if the year had gone directly from winter into summer. Maybe even the owls were hot out in the open in their evergreen east of the Pool. [OK Owl Police, I've given a clue to their location. So arrest me.] And speaking of police, yesterday just before flyout a squad car pulled up and two officers of the Central Park precinct came out to gaze through our telescopes and ooh and ah at the owls.

Fly out occured at 6:40, a little on the early side. Perhaps the birds were eager to get into the lower temperatures of the deeper woods. And into the deeper woods they flew, directly east into the area of the Loch and Ravine, where one of the most serious and widely publicized Central Park crimes occurred a few years ago, and where the owl watchers, who included Bruce, Lincoln, Donna, Jim, and a few miscellaneous bikers who stopped to see what we were all looking at, chose not to follow.