Box turtle and baby owl visit the garden

Written by Doug Oster on .

blog box turtle visitsWilson the box turtle spent about 20 minutes getting his picture taken and then was released back into the wild where he was found. Photos by Doug Oster

blog baby owl2It's fun to see this young owl hanging around the garden.My daughter was thrilled to show me this box turtle she found on a garden path. Stephanie named it Wilson as the intricate pattern on the back of the shell resembles a volleyball. It's a tribute to Tom Hank's companion in Castaway.

Those orange eyes tell me it's a male. I've read box turtles can live to be 100 and only have a range of about 750 yards square. It seems the family runs across one every season. The turtles have been wonderful woodland companions.

We put a small mark on Wilson's shell, so that if we ever see him again, we'll be able to identify him.

Shelly was another box turtle we saw annually for many years in the garden, but haven't seen him since for a few years, Here's a story on discovering him one summer.

We're all busy, but spending time without cell phone and sitting in the garden can reveal a host of nature's surprises.

The other big news was seeing a juvenile great horned owl hanging out near the garden.

All winter long we heard the adults calling to each other (listen here). My wife stumbled on to one of them a dusk in the middle of a walking trail. Needless to say, the owl wasn't happy to see her and let her know it by spreading its wings and protesting with its nest defense calls.

The next day we saw this owl in the same area 40 feet up in a tree. At first glance we figured it was an adult until I zoomed in with the camera to see those fuzzy feathers.

This bird has sat in the same tree for a few days, it's only 10 feet from the nest.

Reading up on the species, I found the young owl will stay close for a few more days and then practice flying. The adults are still around somewhere and can take care of the juvenile for most of the summer and possibly into winter.

The wonders found in the garden never cease to amaze.

I was thinning radishes the other day and in the distance heard the young bird squawking away, maybe calling for mom and dad.


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