I always keep an ear open for the call of the boobook owl who lives on the sprawling grounds of my workplace. Every so often, I get to see a flash of his grey wings as he zooms by, no doubt on the hunt for some delicious mouse or moth, but he is a reclusive fellow. I do hear him from afar, though, and sometimes call back to him with the sound that names his kind: “boo-book, boo-book”.
In this past week, I’ve been doing some different duties at work, and its taken me to other areas on the site which I don’t normally see. Since I work afternoon-evenings, it’s been dark by the time I get to these locations. There are plenty of large trees, and so many kinds of birds and even some microbats, that nights are filled with animals sounds and the constant movement of insects and creatures.
In one of the lovely great trees I’ve been walking under each night, I could hear an odd chittering sound from within the branches. It could have been any kind of bird, even one confused by the nearby lighting. I’d stopped and tried to get a peek of the animal before, but my eyes just aren’t made for night-vision, much to my disappointment.
This evening, on the final night of my other responsibilities, I look up again at the faint sounds. Where the branches spread out from the top of the trunk is a wide stump. I hadn’t seen it from this particular angle before. Watching with huge, glistening eyes are two small boobooks! My owl friend has a family of his own!
I was overcome with delight; they were so sweet and bobbed their heads and bodies in a perfectly owly way, watching me as I watched them. They knew I’d seen them, and I thanked them for letting me have such an awesome experience, then wished the family well and continued on my way.
I’m so happy that the boobooks are living in the area and have a lovely, secure nest to raise their young. I really do love animals, but these owls will always have a very special place in my heart.