2023—Look Whooooo We Almost Missed

On our first morning at Magee Marsh, we pooh-poohed a group of visitors who were pointing excitedly to a tree they said had an Eastern Screech Owl in a cavity. We looked and saw nothing. For the rest of the week, we passed that same tree a number of times each day not even looking up. Luckily for us, Thursday morning, our last day, we encountered a lone photographer with a 600mm lens focused on a tree near the one we heard about the first day. And yes, he said, the Eastern Screech Owl was up there. This time when we looked, we could see that the small owl was indeed there, perfectly camouflaged. It had likely been there all along. While we watched, it would turn or open one eye. A couple of times it disappeared into the cavity and reappeared moments later leaning against one side or the other of the cavity opening and sleeping. The feathers mimic the surrounding bark so at times it is almost impossible for the untrained eye to find it. The natural world is an amazing and intricately designed place.

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