Forest Park Owls

 Wednesday night Anne and I rode in the Park.  We got ten miles.  One of our first stops was “Owl Hill”.  Mark the Owl Guy was already there and gladly acted as our owl guide.  He successfully pointed out to me four of the five members of the Park’s Great Horned Owl family.  No mean feat.

Pictured above is Charles, the father.  He is sitting in this year’s favorite conifer.  Charles does most of the hunting. He is the family’s bread-winner, he brings home the bacon.  His prey includes other birds, any rodents and even raccoons.

This is Sarah, the mother.  Physically, she is noticeably larger than Charles.  She is the family’s protector.  You don’t want to mess with mom.  She can hit you with a force that will knock you down and then there is that little matter of her talons.  She watches over the owlets.

Sarah is the darkest colored of all the owls.  She blends in best with the bark of the leafless trees.  Have you ever seen those owl decoys?  They are typically hung from trees to ward off other birds.  I think of Sarah when I see them and cringe.

Fledger, the oldest of the owlets was pointed out to me, for the first time, Wednesday night,  by Mark.  Fledger, Brancher and Nester are working titles that Mark has applied to the owlets.  Fledger is named so, because it has fledged from the nest.  Brancher has branched out from the nest and Nester is still in the nest.  Great Horned Owls stagger their eggs over a season, much as we stagger our children over our lifetimes. 

Mark has named Charles and Sarah and all of their offspring.  Fledger, Brancher and Nester are still just working titles.  I’m curious to learn what he comes up with for actual names.  My co-worker, Barbara, had told me about an owl the lives in a dead tree across the street from her.  When I showed her this week’s earlier owl picture of an owlet she said that her owl looked like that too.  Charles and Sarah have been making owlets for five or more years.  Maybe Barbara’s north county owlet has a Forest Park ancestor?  I never did get a picture of Nestor, but this picture at least shows where it lives.

The best April Fools joke that I saw was Google’s.  They substituted their Google logo’s letters to spell Topeka, as in Kansas.  Topeka had offered to change its name to Google as part of its bid to win Google’s announced award of a giga-bit city-wide network.  I hope that all of you that saw it, enjoyed it as much as I did.

California announced that for the first time in 150 years, the majority of Californian residents are now native-born.  Both of my brothers are native Californians.  If Dan moves to California this year, which seems increasingly more likely, he’ll help to tip the balance back.

Dave at work, told me about this group called Flaming Lotus Girls.  They are a sculpture group, based out of the Bay Area.  They’ve presented at Burning Man and their signature work is called, The Serpent Mother.  This piece involves a dragon sized sculpture, that is illuminated with computer controlled and chemically enhanced jets of flame.  I see it better described as pyrotechnic sculpture.  Burn, Baby, Burn!

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