Down the Road a Piece

By MILT GROSS | May 12, 2014

The owls didn’t call his name

Rick, a friend, climbed Cadillac Mountain recently before Acadia National Park in which Cadillac is located opened for the season.

The snow was mostly gone, but the owls weren’t.

Rick said when he reached the summit, he saw two snowy owls, a male and a female.

“Neither of them called my name,” he commented.

Maybe we give owls too much credit. Maybe they didn’t know his name, even though he was the only person on Cadillac’s peak that morning.

Rick accepted their not calling his name okay. He tends to not get upset about such things.

Unless the owls were being rude by not calling his. Rick didn’t mention that possibility.

I will say that it’s rare one sees a snowy owl in Maine.

I’ve seen a fair number of barred owls and one saw whet. The saw whet was sitting on our porch next to the porch light. We didn’t know what it was, and it stayed there two or three days. I finally asked our game warden what it was.

Generally owls are large birds, but when I was a kid a hundred or so years ago, I watched a flock of crows harass one in a woods near our home. It was fascinating to me to watch those not-all-that-big birds chasing this much-bigger critter.

One afternoon Dolores and I were walking in Acadia National Park. We noticed a rabbit -- snowshoe hare -- in the woods to our right about 60

feet away. A few seconds later we spied a barred owl in a tree a few feet to the left of the path about 100 feet in front of us. Action ensued: the bunny hopped away. The owl watched.

We didn’t know whether we should feel good for accidentally saving the rabbit’s life or guilty for robbing the owl of his dinner. We still don’t know.

We have several barred owls living near our house in yonder woods. Early one morning, I heard one in a tree at the edge of our yard. I also heard and saw a raven or two angrily caw and fly away. Apparently the ravens weren’t happy with their early morning visitor.

Those owls have dined on two or three of our past cats, when the cats got out at night and wouldn’t come when we called them. And when, as cats do so well, they walked away from us keeping just far enough away that we couldn’t catch them.

We never heard any of our neighborhood owls call our names.

But we suspect those cats did.

Milt Gross can be reached for corrections, harassment, or other purposes at lesstraveledway@roadrunner.com.

Milton M. Gross Copyright 2014

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