Saturday night was an interesting one at camp, as dusk fell and Runoia campers headed back to their cabins after milk and crackers the usual evening sounds were disrupted by an unearthly cacophony. Typically the evening is quite and is only punctuated by the calls of loons on the lake or the high pitched call of the osprey on their way to roost.
We felt like we were in a scene from Jurassic Park and were certain a flock of velociraptors were about to descend on the kickball field. We couldn’t imagine what was making the screeching sounds that were echoing around us. Certainly not just one night creature but a whole collection out there in the dark talking to each other in a language we could not understand.
Heading up to the PS, in the now very dusky light I was amazed to see three owls on the big oak tree. It became apparent that they were the producers of the bizarre noises. Bobbing heads and hopping along the branch they were calling to other owls across the field. While it is not unusual to hear one or two owls in the early morning or evening these sounds were new to me.
After some research and discussion it was determined that the owls were fledgling barred owls out for their flying lessons. They were still at it at 4 am but must have eventually figured it out as by the time the sun came up they were all gone and there hasn’t been a repeat performance since. We have been lucky enough to see a mature owl swooping low over senior end and keep our eyes alert in the dusky light on our way down to bed.
At Runoia I am constantly reminded of the Navajo prayer “Now I walk in beauty, beauty is before me, beauty is behind me, above and below me.” We are so lucky to spend our summer in such a beautiful location, embracing all of the natural world that surrounds us.