A distinctive aspect of living in a place like Grant County is that we don't run things here. Nature runs things and we adjust. We can grow as much garden as the deer will allow and raise as many chickens as the hawks and the skunks will permit. The benefit is that we can interact with the natural world to a degree that would be impossible in a more populated region. One spring some neighbors found a family of Great Horned Owls nesting right at their back door. Things like this happen all the time and give us a chance to experience the cycle of life in a way that no zoo or even a two-week safari can match. If you look closely, you can see the nest with two chicks in the left side of this picture and a parent in the adjoining branch. This is mom, she stayed on the nest for two months straight while dad did all the hunting. Her patience was rewarded with three chicks. Who grew quickly and decided they were going to be ferocious predators like dad. But it turned out that this flying business was a little more complicated than it looked. And then they didn't know quite what to do. Until they got a helping hand.. Nature tip: If you want to help an owl, wear good gloves. Look at the length of those talons. Soon the chick is back in the tree, absorbing the many lessons about flying and life in general that it has learned today. By the next day, they have the flying figured out and it's time to work on pouncing on prey. Dad always knew they would figure it out. Special thanks to Dave Sandersfeld a local writer and photographer who provided the material for this issue of the Gazette.
Owls for Neighbors
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