Western Screech Owl

Didn’t mean to startle you, but don’t worry. He’s about as big as a robin, hunts at night. This image is from Animal Spot, courtesy of Google, and he’s the one we’re hoping will move into the box we hung in one of the oak trees just behind the backyard fence. Here’s how that happened:

That’s Mitch, saving Larry the necessity of working 10 feet above ground with a ladder. Whew!

But now a little quiz: What word describes the relationship between this owl and the oak tree?

Mutualism, Parasitism, Commensalism, or Predation?

The answer is Commensalism (we all knew it wasn’t predation, right?) Commensalism applied here means that the owl derives benefit from the tree, and the tree neither gains from nor is harmed by the owl. Learned a new word!

I found this on a site called Brainly, which is pretty cool when you don’t feel like asking Google every last thing.

A little time off, and we spent a morning at the dentist, got our teeth cleaned, and kept going on to Portland. As this was a Tuesday, we had the good fortune to enjoy Tuesday Tunes at Mirabella’s Bistro, guests of Vik and Gordon that evening. And on to hear a talk by Molly Gloss. I had known Molly years ago and loved the chance to catch up. If you haven’t read her books yet, get going. Start with The Jump Off-Creek and go from there. For some reason I hadn’t read her Dazzle of Day, but when, in her talk, I learned that it was a novel featuring Quakers in space, I sent for the book the morning I got home. From time to time, I talk to my sister Mary, herself a Friend, on the subject of Quaker philosophy and practice. So far she hasn’t kept me up to speed on their activity in space. I will let you know.

You all knew we are going to raise some chicks for our flock. We stopped in at WilCo the next morning to find and purchase a Starter Kit, which would provide some housing, water and feed dispensers, and a stand for a heat lamp. Fortunately we decided to go home and set up before selecting our new little residents.

Fortunately, because the starter kit was pretty lame. We realized that we could use a stock tank for the base instead of the kit, but the only place we could site this great awkward thing was in the garage. So my little car gets bumped outside for the duration.

Larry cobbled together the post, took the heat lamp from the greenhouse, and put the Starter Kit back into the car for its return to WilCo when we picked up the chicks the next day. Here what that looks like:

We’re advised to hold them every day, to establish our ability to hold them when we need to when they are adults. (Just try to catch Gracie. Guess she didn’t get cuddled as a baby.)

These are about a week old, and include two black, one speckled, and one red breed. Sidebar: it was fascinating to watch them as they were put together from differing tanks at WilCo. One immediately began to peck at and chase the others. Guess she’ll be the boss lady. The little Rhode Island Red has apparently been assigned the bottom rung of the ladder, and often goes off and takes naps away from the others. Hmm. A week old and they know to do this! Does it remind you of people, for example?

Last time I mentioned the Corvallis Community Thrift Shop. Yesterday I took some items over and met Bonnie there. She took my stuff, and when I apologized that Great Aunt Clara’s tea pot had not been polished, she laughed and informed me that unpolished silver is now a “thing.” Awesome. Who ever thought of that one? An influencer somewhere on Instagram or X or? Seriously. That’s brilliant. Women everywhere thank you. “Don’t polish that, you’ll ruin it!”

She went on to talk about the carved figure of an Indian that had washed up in the shop. A volunteer at the shop is a member of one of the local Tribes, and she had said that the figure must not be sold. It was highly disrespectful, and it should be burned. Bonnie volunteered to take the thing to her home, from where she’d find someone with a burn pile who could take it on. That’s where we come in. Of late, we have many, many burn piles.

Not up to me to judge what may or not be respectful in this case, but if burning is the appropriate disposition of this guy, we can only oblige. Someone has spent hours carving that head-dress, that sad face, and I wouldn’t suppose it was in order to laugh. Or so I hope. Anyway:


See you next time! 😊 Ha! Wanted to see if my blog would accept emojis. Guess so.

One thought on “”

  1. You’ve covered the entire span of life here in your one little blog entry — from the infant chicks, through the construction of new housing for your Western Screech Owl, to the respectful transition of this indigenous dude to another plane. All together in happy Commensalism!

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