Nature Watch 2.21.13

Last week, after the storm, we had a barred owl in the yard all day, looking weak. Owls don’t drink water, getting their liquid entirely from the small creatures they eat. If food isn’t available for a few days, they go downhill quickly. So, off to the pet store for a few “feeder” mic—put one on the snow, down comes the owl, and within seconds, swoop, grasp, perch and swallow. In two days, this bird was back in good health, not showing up except at dusk, which is normal, and looking frisky and dynamic, hunting on its own again. I call this extreme bird feeding, and it is not for everyone, but it works for us, and every few years, it gets one of these magnificent creatures over a hump. In the coming weeks, owls will be breeding and building their nests, and we should start hearing them again at night.

—Nona Estrin