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  • Writer's pictureKaia Colestock

Welcome all nature nerds!

Updated: Dec 11, 2022

Expanding knowledge one discovery at a time.

We are delighted you're here to join in our adventures with us! We are two insatiable ecologists excited to share our observations with a community of fellow nature-enthusiasts. Although we are birders at heart, this blog will be a platform for all things plant, animal, and culture.

There is no better way to begin than with an iconic species from our home near the California Sierra Nevada mountains. We stumbled upon a great gray owl on October 31, 2020. A Halloween treat! Had it not hunted for small rodents in daylight, the owl may have gone undetected. Serrations on the leading edge of the wing absorbed the sounds created by air turbulence. On top of which, the owl's visual and aural acuity were off the charts. The owl received sounds in a facial disc by rotating its head up to 270 degrees. Direction of the prey was determined by the minuscule time lag that the sound reached the left and right ear, up to a difference of 30 millionths of a second. The owl definitely heard us coming. We made eye contact a time or two. Our muffled footsteps likely sounded like elephants crunching through dry leaf litter. If the owl considered our presence a potential threat - or at the very least, a distraction - any potential danger was outweighed by the essential task of finding food. Time passed slowly, and we basked in the glow of this incredible and powerful hunter. It eventually flew into the forest for reasons unknown, and out of respect, we did not follow. Some story endings are better left unknown.

Great gray owl, Stanislaus National Forest, California.

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