A tale of horned owls

Yasmin John-Thorpe

Early this spring, after the appearance of unexpected snow in January and February that covered everything in sight, the residents of Quail Creek witnessed a wonderful, yet perilous journey of new life.

Horned Owls chose to reproduce the offspring on a palm frond next to the driving range and putting green. Not one but four owlets popped up with their mom in the nest. It was a breezy time of the spring and the palm tree swayed.

One owlet fell out and dropped to the ground. Help was called. The owlet was taken away to protect it from predators and to make sure it survived. Meanwhile, back at the nest, a second owlet slipped out of the nest to another frond about a foot below the nest.

As residents and spring break visitors gathered below the palm tree, the female owl kept watch from the top of the palm. No doubt worried about all the attention her owlets were getting from the crowds below, many lookers armed with cameras and cell phones.

When the third owlet fell to the ground, it hid behind a wall where it was captured and placed off the ground in a crate upon a nearby mesquite tree. The crate was covered with fallen palm fronds to protect the owlet. Soon the first owlet, who had been taken away, survived and was brought back to join its sibling in the crate, too.

Needless to say, all four owlets got bigger and stronger. They lost their baby feathers. As residents checked each day, one by one, the owlets flew away to begin their new life as night hunters.