Life in a slow place that quickly steals your heart.


January 21, 2016

A parliament of owls



IMG_2437Soon after moving to the Valley we had the privilege of watching this great horned owl being released on the Kettle Valley Railway near our house. He was cared for by the South Okanagan Rehabilitation Centre for Owls in Oliver (

A year later this fellow took up residence in a tree conveniently next to my office window and spent the day there roosting, blithely ignoring attempts by flocks of song birds to speed him on his way. I don’t think it’s the same owl but he or she is also a great horned.

IMG_3697Owl calls early in the morning and late in the evening are still magical to me.

IMG_3749 Moving from the city to a place with so much wildlife will never become commonplace…not when I glance out my window that evening to see the visitor waking up and getting ready to hunt while inadvertently posing for this photo. He is in a tree in my front yard with the sun setting on the mountains across the lake from us.

IMG_6422Or waking up to find this bold northern pygmy owl defending his prey of another bird in my driveway. I thought he had hit the window and was injured. A set of legs and a part of an undercarriage lay nearby on the ground. I took dozens of photos, changed lenses twice and he still didn’t budge. Once he finally decided I was too close, he flew away and I realized the body parts were all that remained of his quail victim. My owl book says this is a little owl with a big attitude. “It’s bold nature allows people to approach it closely. It catches prey as big as quails and squirrels although it is only 16 to 18 centimetres high.”

Back from the brink

A hummingbirds’ high metabolism means a quick end if deprived of sugary food for even a few hours. Before a door was added to the lower cabin of our tree fort, a hummer found her way in but not out.


Saving this weak female Calliope seemed like childhood efforts to save a litter of baby rabbits with an eyedropper and milk or reviving a floating goldfish with more food. You’ve got to try, right?


IMG_0270A solution of sugar water in a plastic lid administered by dipping the little guy’s beak into it was the best we could come up with. Handyman husband donned gloves to help protect her.

IMG_0274Unresponsive at first, her black tongue started flicking at the solution, her eyes opened and within a minute she flew off to a nearby flowering shrub and recovered fully.

The door went on the tree fort cabin the next day and handyman husband adds bird whisperer to his credentials.

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