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Saturday, May 13, 2017


A couple of weeks ago I wrote about taking hikes with my brother.  On one of those hikes, he spotted a mother owl with 2 of her babies.  I didn't understand what she was doing at first.  She caught a chipmunk, and then she let it go.  Why let it go when she had a family to feed?  The owlets perched on a downed tree and looked adorable.  The mother caught the chipmunk again and threw it near her babies.  They squawked off the tree trunk, one of them tumbling over backwards in a completely inelegant crash landing amongst the fallen leaves.

The chipmunk looked dazed and didn't know which direction to run.  The mother fluttered over and pinned it down with one foot while her babies scrambled back onto the downed tree.  When they were settled back into their spots, Mom let go of the chipmunk.  It ran for it's life, and Mom gave it about 30' of a head start before swooping down on the unfortunate animal.  She picked it up in her beak and showed her babies her prize before letting it go again, catching it again, release, capture, release, capture...

One of the babies eventually hopped off the tree and smelled the chipmunk in its mother's grasp.  When the chipmunk was released again, the owlet hopped after it for a few feet.  The other owlet hopped down to get a closer look too.  Mom continued to catch and release the miserable varmint until one of the babies actually got a foot on it.  Imagine the roar of the Coliseum going up at the victory.

After a while, both of the owlets could manage to pounce on the chipmunk, and the mama seemed proud enough to burst.  Bro and I were awed by being privileged enough to witness to the teaching moment.

The other night I watched a nature program that showed a mother dolphin teaching her baby how to be a dolphin.  Animals aren't "dumb" other than they don't speak our language, and people forget we're animals too.  I'm convinced the damned groundhog in my yard is smarter than I am, and the robin thinks I'm working for her when I shovel up worms in the yard.  She hops around at my side instead of bothering to poke around in the ground herself.  She's got babies to feed.

There are mothers all around us, and in both the animal and human world, sometimes the "mothers" aren't the ones who gave birth.  There are people in our lives who nurture and teach us throughout our lives.  So for all of the people who are mothers or who have mothered us, Happy Mother's Day!


  1. Awww... How sweet.
    This post has has all things in it that I love: a colorful, naturesque image, sibling love, animals in action, birds (my fav), and mothers!
    Happy Mother's Day to you, too, because since we have this designated day, why not? You represent it well.

  2. Thanks Anita. Happy Mother's Day to you! I hope your kids give you extra love today :)

  3. What a great post for mother's day! I always wondered how bird mothers taught their babies how to hunt. I bet that poor chipmunk wished it was never born. I learned about making lefse from my Mom. Among other things.

  4. I did have some sympathy for the chipmunk. Lefse is a new word for me. I had to google it. Maybe I'll try it sometime :)

  5. What a great story! Perfect for Mother's Day. "Imagine the roar of the Coliseum going up at the victory" - yeah, I think I roared out loud.

    Someone told me that our cats leave their kills at our doorsteps because they're trying to teach us what/how to hunt. Probably.

  6. :) I wonder if that's what my dog was doing when she brought dead groundhogs into my house? I prefer to think she understands my loathing for the varmints and is demonstrating that she's doing her job protecting us from them.