Penelope's Way

Penelope somehow knew that she had to move today, and was in a state of near-panic about it. She snapped her beak for no apparent reason, wheezed even though she had plenty to eat, and bounded from the floor to the door and back at least a dozen times each hour. When she finally climbed down to the rail at 4 pm, she was so frightened by the experience that she climbed back up into the doorway after coming very close to falling. She retreated back into the nest for ten minutes of frantic wing flapping and frogman antics, before climbing back up to the doorway and again moving cautiously to the rail. She seemed frozen in place as she wheezed for help when suddenly June landed next to her and started to preen the top of her head. After a few minutes of this, Penelope returned the favor by preening June's face for several minutes. June then departed as suddenly as she had arrived and flew to a hidden perch about two hundred feet from the nest. This visit gave Penelope a new sense of confidence and she quickly made the two leaps that put her on the roof, just as Spenser had a day earlier. She then spent the next fifteen minutes walking around on the roof and looking at every possible path up the tree. It looked like she had settled on the same difficult jump that led to Spencer's fall when she suddenly turned around and focused her attention on an even longer jump. She stared in the direction of June's distant perch for several minutes before she made a move that would have earned a perfect 10 in Olympic ski jumping competition. She coiled her legs, tucked her wings, and sprung off the roof with such force that her wing flapping carried her almost fifty feet in June's direction where she fluttered harmlessly into a dense thicket of arrowwood bushes. I then lost sight of her, but later saw June fly in to welcome her to the outside world. She should have no problem finding a good perch in the area where she landed.

 

There was also encouraging news on Spencer's status. A few hours before Penelope left the nest, June brought in a partially-eaten bird. This strongly suggests that she had just finished feeding Spencer and was bringing the leftovers to Penelope. I have not not yet been able to verify this with a direct sighting, but will report them if they occur.

This will be the last regularly scheduled update for the 2002 nesting season and I hope that you have enjoyed being part of it. It seems that the owls never run out of surprises as they continue the great adventure that is their struggle for life.

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