Friday, March 2, 2012.
After watching for further signs of three owlets for over a week I made the call that there are two owlets this year. These two owlets are the fourteenth and fifteenth owlets that I have seen Charles and Sarah have in the over six years and seven breeding seasons I have been privileged to have seen.
As in recent years when the owlets have numbered two, I have picked names belonging to recently deceased beings as an in memoriam tribute and homage. The older, larger owlet further distinguished at this point by its larger facial disc is named Christopher after the late writer Christopher Hitchens. Christopher Hitchens died at the age of 62 on December 15, 2011. An elegant, penetrating, erudite and prolific writer on a vast array of topics. These qualities combined with his strongly voiced and often iconoclastic opinions made him many admirers and detractors. I certainly disagree with many of his conclusions and opinions but I admire many of them as well as his conviction and candor.
I had not thought of naming an owlet after him until I was reading his memoir Hitch-22: A Memoir in January. On pages 333-335 he submits himself to "The Proust Questionnaire" to offer some insights on himself. When asked what his favorite bird is his response of "The owl" elicited a stunning but pleasant "Eureka" moment from me. Sarah was already nesting. I thought that, depending on the number of owlets she and Charles had, I would name of of them Christopher.
The younger, smaller owlet currently with the smaller facial disk is named Velvet after my mom's late female black Labrador retriever mix. After nineteen years of loyal companionship and a tough last few months of life, Velvet was put down on October 14, 2011. It was the best decision for her but it was still a tough one and a sad day for my mom and the rest of my family. My girlfriend Wendy had the great idea to name one of the owlets Velvet as a way to remember Velvet the sweet, soft-furred dog and to connect the name with the velvety softness of owl feathers. I asked my mom her thoughts and for her blessing on the idea and my mom gave it an enthusiastic green light. Thanks, Wendy and Mom!
Now for some pictures of these beauties with and without Sarah. Be sure to double-click on the to see a bigger image.
On February 20, 2012 from left to right: Velvet, Christopher and Sarah.
On February 21, Velvet on left, Christopher on right, Sarah swooping out of the nest.
With Sarah out of the nest the owlets have more room to move. Yawning, head bobbing and first feather grooming that I have seen this year.
On February 25 with Sarah in the background Christopher yawns while Velvet does an Escalator Stretch (the stretching of a wing and leg on the same side of the body).
To conclude on February 29, Sarah is again in the background but Velvet is now on the left and Christopher on the right. It's amazing how fast they grow. Thanks for reading!