Friday, February 22, 2008
who cooks for you?
It was late in the day as I walked one of the trails at the Ijams’ Homesite. A slow moving slough of the Tennessee River was all that separated me from long and narrow Dickinson Island, named after the family of Miss Emily herself, the famed poet, the Belle of Amherst. The west end of the island is developed, the home to Island Home Airport, a small landing strip for Cessna Skyhawks and Beechcraft Bonanzas. The east end is wooded and as I soon discovered, the home to another winged-wonder--a barred owl. As the sun was setting in the west and darkness engulfed the oaks and hickories around me, the owl began to call. I repeated the familiar mnemonic in my head, “Who cooks for you? Who cooks for you alllllllll?” Similar to a red-shouldered hawk, a barred owl’s preferred habitat is woods near water and in the Tennessee Valley, there’s plenty of that. Courtship for these nocturnal hunters begins at this time of the year. The one I heard was seeking a mate. And if he succeeds, and as we all know, “Hope springs eternal,” egg-laying occurs in early March.
Photo by my dear friend, the late and great Jim Logan. We still miss you buddy!