As darkness approached on June 3rd, something small was moving around in the door of the owl house. I held my breath as a tiny owlet clung to the door while stretching to reach the owl rail beneath the door (top right). With no adults in sight, it moved with a confidence that seemed almost reckless. After two or three minutes of this frightening high wire act, it gave up and lowered itself back into the nest. Before disappearing completely, it hung by its beak (bottom right) and gazed out at the big world beyond the nest. That was the first, and possibly the last time that I would see Peanut.
The next morning, June was perched in a spot that was much lower and much closer to my house than normal. While her actions suggested that she might be watching over an owlet that had fallen to the ground, the dense undergrowth hid whatever she was focused on. Because barred owlets are excellent climbers who normally leave the nest in a flightless state at the age of four weeks, it is possible that Peanut survived. The absence of the characteristic owlet hissing, however, suggested that it was just as likely that he had met an untimely end. Ward and June continued to return for several days, but neither of them approached the nest and there was no sign of Peanut. The first sign that Peanut might have made it did not come for three months.
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