[Tweeters] Survival of the nimble

Rob Sandelin nwnature1 at gmail.com
Thu Jul 30 17:58:34 PDT 2015


I was sitting in the woods admiring how the light formed spotlights on bits of the forest. A young Douglas squirrel was running about and it stopped in the center of an open space and began to dig with its front paws, perhaps going after a truffle? Suddenly a juvenile Barred owl quietly flew up into the closest tree about 10 feet off the ground. The squirrel froze, the owl hunched forward, its total focus on the squirrel below. The squirrel, millimeter by millimeter slowly turned its head to evaluate its escape options. The closest tree was the one with the owl in it, the next closest was a hemlock about 12-15 feet away.

Suddenly the squirrel bolted for the hemlock and the owl, wings pumping was after it. OMG! The owl closed, talons down locked and loaded. As it got within about 1 foot of the squirrel the rodent suddenly pivoted and then ducked as the owls momentum carried it just past the squirrel, missing its prey by scant inches.

By the time the owl recovered and got turned around the squirrel was gone.

Interestingly while this encounter happened the woods was deathly quiet, even I found I was holding my breath. About a minute later one, then another, then a third squirrel began doing their alarm call, passing the word no doubt of the victory for squirrel kind.

BTW, according to my neighbors, this same owl (probably) went after and missed a baby bunny last evening.

Rob Sandelin
watching squirrels in
Snohomish County



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