There I was – walking up the driveway after a morning walk. Suddenly, a huge bird flew in low and perched itself on a tree in our backyard.
I approached the backyard gate with excitement and anticipation. I was ready to see a red tail hawk, the type of bird seen throughout our neighborhood, but my sight locked eyes with a different feathered friend. Our backyard visitor was an owl.
He looked around, surveying the yard. I watched as his head seemingly turned around completely. I was fascinated.
Eventually, I pulled myself away from the owl. He seemed in no hurry to fly off into the sunrise, and I was thirsty for some cold water.
With my thirst quenched, my thoughts returned to the owl. I grabbed my camera and walked out to the back deck, hoping he would still be perched in the tree where I last saw him.
There he was – in all his glory. I noticed something else, this time. Cherokee was parked next to another tree, staring straight up. I tried to get her attention, but I was unable to break her concentration.
When I glanced at the owl, I realized he was looking in the same direction. What was up the tree, I wondered to myself.
I walked down the deck steps towards Cherokee, and she continued to ignore me. As I walked around the tree, I noticed something scurry higher. “Ah-ha!” I said aloud to my animal friends. “You guys are looking at the chipmunk!”
I tried to capture a picture of the chipmunk, but it was too quick for me. He had me in a good game of run around the tree, and I lost.
Suddenly, I heard a few quick chirps. The chipmunk was making a run for it. He scurried down the tree through the tall weeds and leaves. Cherokee darted, in an attempt to capture the downed chipmunk. Wilbur joined her, always wanting to lend his sister a paw – or four.
But the chipmunk made it to a second tree, and scurried up as quickly as it had scurried down. Wilbur and Cherokee sneezed in unison, as if they were telling off the chipmunk.
I decided to intervene with Mother Nature, and I tried corralling Wilbur and Cherokee. I wanted to bring the pooches inside, giving the chipmunk a chance to catch it’s breath. When unexpectedly and in the blink of an eye, the owl swooped from his perch, flew by the side of the tree where the chipmunk panted in exhaustion, snatched the chipmunk with its talons, and flew away effortlessly.
Stunned at first, Wilbur and Cherokee looked at each other, clearly questioning what had just happened. I was trying to comprehend it, too.
Then Wilbur and Cherokee chased the owl, vowing to get what was rightfully theirs in the first place. But the owl was too quick and well – it had the power of flight.
I watched as the owl flew out of our backyard and disappeared further into the woods, clutching its breakfast tight.
I send my condolences to the chipmunk family. For what it is worth, I don’t think the chipmunk suffered. Wilbur, Cherokee, and I did not see the owl coming, and I don’t think the chipmunk did, either. Though we try to intervene from time to time, Mother Nature remains in control.