Mid-afternoon on a Saturday, i was doing laundry at my friend’s homestead one town over when i heard the blue jays outside going absolutely mental. I thought maybe a cat had tried to climb a tree they had a nest in but as the minutes ticked on the ruckus continued. When i started seeing branches and sticks drop outside the window i decided to investigate what had these birds so frantic. I opened the front door and stepped out onto the porch. I could see the blue jays were flying back and forth through the branches of a huge gnarled old oak tree. I squinted to see what they were fussing about as they knocked sticks and acorns to the ground during their drive-by dives.

All of a sudden the words came out of my mouth, “That’s an owl.” There was a big horned owl just sitting on a branch in full sunlight waiting for nightfall i guess. I’ve never seen an owl during daytime. This owl stayed in the oak tree for hours and was still there in the same spot when i left for home. The blue jays went completely bonkers, lost their minds, tired themselves out, lost their minds again, tired themselves out once more, and picked back up for a bit. The owl ignored them. It sat on the branch and stared straight forward at the sun, eyes closed. It seemed unbothered by the antics of the bluejays. When my friend arrived home i pointed the owl out and she said she saw him swoop out of the tree the other night and thought, “that sure looks like the flight of an owl.” I said, “i think you have a new neighbor.” We dubbed him/her Alden. It means “old wise friend”. I thought it fitting for his/her response to the continued pecking, diving, and flapping of the bothered bluejays.

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    1. There used to be an owl that would sit atop an apartment complex i lived in and communicate with the owl that sat atop the assisted living community’s roof next door. The one atop the retirement community was a big one. The one atop my apartment roof was smaller. One night the smaller one heard me making noise walking through the grass. It swooped down, talons outstretched, and went to grab a…wait a minute…i was a bit bigger than a mouse. I don’t know who was more startled, him or me. It flapped its huge wings and whooshed into the sky, gliding up to land in a nearby tree. Now i hum when i walk at night…so owls and coyotes dont mistake me for deer or rodents.

      1. Swift, silent, and strong is a good way to describe it. The only time i heard flapping of wings was when it went to fly up into the tree. They’re silent when they glide down. Back when i was a teen we had an upstairs deck on the back of the house. There was an owl that would land by grabbing the metal railing with its talons and it would make this huge “bang!” noise. In the morning our home school curriculum would consist of dissecting and reassembling the bones of any critter in the owl’s regurgitated little pellet thing it would leave us. It was usually mice. Smelled awful but exciting science class content.

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