I have been in search of an elixir–something to take the edge off. A way for my brain to take a break from our world’s exploding problems…
Traditionally my go-to’s for escaping are: Drinking wine, baking homemade bread, spending quality time talking to family and friends and viewing addicting Netflix shows. But there is only so much T.V. time, wine to consume and sessions of Zoom that I can use to “check out” for a while. Dare I admit that I actually have a bit of wine, Zoom and binge-watching fatigue? Notice I have not mentioned my decreasing need for homemade bread. That still totally works for me.
But the great news is that I have recently found something better to ease my mind. It is truly a remarkable surprise to me how well it works. “What is it?” you ask. Well, it is my ability to observe the life of an owl family through a 24 hour live stream on YouTube. I check on them in the morning. I check on them in the afternoon. I really look in on them at night and probably another 4 or 5 times during the course of my day just because I can’t wait to see what is new with the brood of owlets.
“Why?” you ask. “What is so great about looking at owls”? The answer is quite simple:
Baby owls are the bomb!
They aren’t even necessarily that cute when first born. They look kind of creepy as a matter of fact –all beaks, with mini tufts of white down protruding from wrinkly pink skin. At first they have zero fluffy cuteness. They are totally helpless with wobbling heads that seem so frail. They look vulture like and a bit sad. But like an unfortunate car wreck, it is hard to look away. These creatures are intriguing.
And then after weeks of careful tending by the doting parent owls, the owlets get bigger, cuter and do stuff that is really entertaining. For instance, the little guys all huddle together in a kind of rugby scrum for warmth. They look like a massive pile of white fluff. Then if you wait for it there will always be one trying to optimize his position with a forceful butt-wiggle that sets off a type of yoga stretching by another causing the chain reaction of the birds cheeping and bird legs popping out the sides of this white ball of fluff. Each owlet tries to maneuver into the best position for warmth. The runt of the brood unfortunately often gets a bit squished by bigger siblings, but at least the little fella keeps warm…
It has been over a month since they hatched and their behavior patterns are pretty much the same. They mostly sleep during the day. So they pretty much just cuddle and stretch. But once the sun sets, everything changes and the rodent fiesta begins. “Ole!”
And boy the carnage of feeding time is a spectacle to watch. The parent owls hunt at night and bring incredible amounts of mice, voles, rats etc. (already, thankfully, deceased) to the nest and then immediately take flight to hunt for more.
This week there was one night when both parent owls brought a total of 14 rodents for their ravenous little ones. The runt owlet I was once upon a time quite worried about, actually pounced and got to 3 of the entrees first before his siblings (this one is a fighter!) with the bigger owls also eating 3 or 4 a piece that night. They chowed down, most swallowing their prey whole– gulping down furry food with the gusto of a starving lumberjack. They actually can gorge to a point where they can’t seem to finish the last portion of their meal= the long strip of a rodent tail. It can take a really long time to get that last piece down. Some of them actually fall over as if drunk, exhausted from their all you can eat buffet. Some even sleep with the tail of their dinner sticking out of their beaks. Their peaceful slumber aided by a rat tail pacifier.
O.K. even though it is a bit gruesome it is really fascinating to watch this nature show.
The whole circle of life thing is quite evident here. And I actually find a sense of peace, knowing that at least, so far, these owlets are doing a.o.k and growing by leaps and bounds. Some are already losing their down and getting their “big bird” feathers. Their satellite-dish-shaped faces getting more defined and owl-like…
I am mesmerized by their world. Watching them tackle life actually gives me hope and even a sense of calm. Who knew that baby owls could have such a soothing effect? From their silly antics with each other to the incredible sight of how they feed on mice and such, it all brings me back to the basics–
The simple things that really matter: family, love, shelter, food, health, putting up the good fight to live and prosper…
These owlets are a reminder of all of those things. And for me, I like the reminder.
The strain inducing events in our world have grown like a dark stain, seeping into our thoughts and creating sadness, fear and anger. These can be dark times. But allowing ourselves to have some goodness and light during these troubled stretches is beyond important.
I feel it helps us maintain balance. And with balance we have the healthy body and soul to better cope with and solve these heavyweight problems.
So if you feel the need for a restorative potion for your burdened soul, I say give yourself a pass. Take that break. Go to recess. Find what rejuvenates you.
For me fluffy owlets are my current “drug of choice” that I use to push the bad out of my consciousness for a while. For me it really works as I am reminded of the circle of life and the essentials of what really matters. It gives me a life compass. And I can use it to help get through all the rest…
Here’s to finding your perfect escape! And do share! As my owls are soon to be gone. Off to greater adventures beyond their owl box as new Barn Owl adults.
If you want to give owl-watching a try, here is the link to the livestream of the Romanini Live Barn Owl Stream on YouTube: