Monday, November 19, 2012

Snowy Owl's Perch

Watercolor on paper by RLHall, ArtfulExpress

I have only actually seen one Snowy Owl in the wild. They are usually found farther north in the United States and Canada, but do wander south in some years. More often now, I think, since the weather patterns are changing. Years ago one was sighted in a stand of pine woods near the highway, in my area close to the Southern NewYork border with Pennsylvania. It remained in this unlikely spot, actually just a strip of mostly pines in the median between two lanes, for three years after I first knew of it. Whenever I drove past I looked for it, and sometimes stopped to observe as it perched in a roadside tree watching for prey or took off in a ghostly flight through it's small forest domain. I once saw it fly across the highway to the river that ran along side of the road. And another time I remember seeing it hovering above the water there, apparently fishing. There was also an overflow pond on the opposite side of the highway with a large scrub field between it and the trees that it seemed to call home. I wondered how it withstood the exhaust fumes and the noise of the heavy traffic on each side, but suppose that there it found prime hunting grounds, with all it's needs met in that local environment.

Since, then I have read that Snowy Owls tend to move on from one place to another in three to four year intervals. Due to the life cycles of the rodents that provide most of their food supply. When the rodent populations start dying down, they relocate to an area where the small animals are flourishing. I often think of my wild friend, and still look at that stand of trees as I pass by. I remember thinking that it must have been killed while diving down toward the road to snatch a meal. But now when I think of it, I hope perhaps it just found that it was time to travel off to better haunts.
Comment by: Frangipan
What a beautiful painting, owls have such strong symbolism.

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