About a week ago my dog Gracie gave me a bit of a scare. I turned on the back porch light and let her outside for one last time for the evening before going to bed. It was about 10:00pm, and as soon as she stepped out onto our back patio and into the semi-darkness, she immediately took out after something she had seen. She veered left and to some trees just off the patio. We had a clay basin with water on the patio (with temps this week at 100 degrees), and I was sure something had been getting a drink when I opened the door to let her out. I went out after her and didn’t see anything. Afraid it might be a possum or who knows what, I got her back inside as quickly as possible.
After getting her settled in her bed for the night, I went back and turned on the patio light again, making sure all other house lights were off, and watched to see if whatever she was chasing might come back for more water…and they did. To my great surprise, and enjoyment, a pair of tiny screech owls came to drink at the basin. At first I thought they were doves, but the body shape was all wrong – and then one of them turned their head almost backwards to peer in the window at me! Little golden eyes in the night, they made quick flights in and out of the trees to the water, and hopped and gave short flight on the patio chasing evening bugs. I stood and watched them for about 15 minutes until they disappeared completely into the darkness. I guess I always thought of owls as big birds, but these certainly were not. Still, they are predators with talons, so Gracie had best leave them alone!