We're right in the city, but there is a Douglas fir not far from our house in which a barred owl was spotted. Ha ha! That's a little birder humor, there. Spotted owls and barred owls are different. They look similar but the spotted is more petite, and endangered by the encroachment of the barred owls. Field biologists are so worried about the demise of the spotted owl that they are even trying to see what happens if they can manage to shoot a bunch of barred owls, through their tears.
A barred owl is not your little button of a bird. It doesn't perch so much as it hunkers. It occupies. It's substantial. So you'd think it would be easy for us to spot, but then you'd be underestimating our depths of oblivitude. It's not that we don't notice things. Personally, I'm capable of noticing everything about a little bug without noticing that it is crawling up Sasquatch's foot. If I'm bent over a bush picking huckleberries and blunder into a bear doing the same thing, I'd probably wonder who upholstered the berry bush.
When clues to reality do filter in, we can't always make sense of them at first. When I started working as a letter carrier, I drove a Jeep from the right-hand side. After a few weeks of this, I went to drive my own car and climbed in the passenger side. I just sat there for a few moments, confused. First I noticed I didn't have a place to stick in my keys. Then I noticed I didn't have a steering wheel, either. Then I concluded I'd had a stroke. I was twenty-three. It hasn't gotten any better with time.
Can't say Dave is always on the mark either. One morning after we first moved in the house, he was
The point is, it was highly unlikely the two of us were going to spot a barred owl in our neighborhood. And we didn't. The fellow whose tree it was in pointed it out. But now that we know where it is, we can spot it just fine. It's hunkered plumb above the poop pile on the sidewalk. If it rains, we'll have to ask the guy for an update.