The Owl

This barred owl has prowled the local farms from dusk to dawn and occasionally stops in for visits. We believe this is a young owl by its curiosity and its tidy, short feathers. An older barred owl also visits and looks a little tired and ragged at the tips. The older owl has grander feather cones around the eyes.

An older barred owl watches from above.

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The owl is not shy and will sit if you approach calmly and talk to it. The behavior resembles a cat. This owl grooms, preens, and observes our activity. The body size is approximately 40 cm. The talons are very intimidating.

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The owl moves about the hazelnuts and is often in a tree that over hangs a small foot bridge. This is a good spot to watch activity on both banks.

Inspired by our visitor, a simple drawing was created to show the calm presence of the owl in its natural habitat. A ‘live edge’ border gives outline to a scene. The drawing was created as an inverse for printing on ‘night’ backgrounds, and as a positive for printing on ‘day’ backgrounds.

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We are printing several versions of the owl in ‘day’ and ‘night’ designs. Full sleeve, 3/4 sleeve, and more. We’ll make them available soon! Click here and check out Prairie Bench Fashion….

If you are interested in our original design of the barred owl on a shirt, let us know. PrairieBench.com will also provide t-shirts to help support local animal rescue.

Baby Squirrels Our Guests

We live and work on an ecological reserve. Animals wander about as they please. We work around bears, deer, ducks, geese, owls, eagles, songbirds, beaver, river otters, raccoons, and squirrels. Recently, we heard the distinct call of a young animal in distress. It was a baby squirrel. We left it with some vegetable pablum and water and waited for the parent to return. At the end of the second day with no momma squirrel in sight, we decided to capture it and give it some proper nutrition. That’s when a second baby squirrel appeared, then another, and another.

They were quite emaciated and weak. A diet of vegetable protien mix, mushed peas and sweet potatoes, and almond milk did the trick. They gained weight over the next week as we watched out for the mother. Unfortunately, she did not reappear. We constructed a 7′ x 4′ x 4′ enclosure complete with glass roof, branches, hoops, ropes, and baskets for a play area and set them up in a secure cage with warm hammocks to sleep in. We kept warm water bottles in their covers to keep up their temperature. They survived and grew.

They are like little food pirates and will try to steal each others food even though there is plenty. They are now on baby rat pellets, sunflower seeds, fresh cut peppers, broccoli, spinach, lettuce, grated carrots, apple sauce, and sliced bananas. Food had to be cut fine or pur̩ed to prevent choking Рthey will try to stuff themselves when learning about solid food. Also each squirrel had to be hydrated by hand to ensure their water intake was constant. Each had to learn how to drink from a hamster bottle.

The two small pictures above show how small the first found squirrel was in he folds of a jacket. Later, a squirrel enjoys sweet potato and carrot baby food. They are much cleaner eaters now, and cooperate sharing their food.

Three brothers and a sister. The sister is the smallest, but the bravest, and would approach if food was offered. The boys wait until she checks out any new feature in the enclosure. She is the tamest of the pack and will come when called.

They will soon be able to explore the trees onsite and take their role in the wild. This was a fun and challenging opportunity to learn about squirrel behavior and help some young ones get a start in life. We at Prairiebench.com are proud to have received a commendation from the City of Port Coquitlam for our efforts in animal rescue over the years.

For fun, watch “Brunch with Baby Squirrels” on YouTube to see these darlings have a polite snack for the camera…

From right to left: little sister, big brother (first one found), grey (second one found), charcoal (last one found and the shy one). The little sister approached for food after two brothers were discovered.

Gold Pocket Watch Found

Metal detecting near an old farmhouse revealed several treasures including a tractor part, an old bent nail, two cabinet hinges, a tin can lid, some foil, and… a Gold Pocket Watch!

Ever seeking fun old things, one of our carvers discovered this cache near the remains of an old farmhouse in an abandoned site. The watch was located within 5 minutes approx. 6″ below the surface. The tractor part was beneath a tree root and had to be extracted to avoid damaging the tree.

The tractor part could be a hitch or a cleat to steady a backhoe.

The watch appears to be gold plated, with corrosion now appearing from beneath the plating. It looks to be a member of the Waltham product line, a US manufacturer, circa 1925. No restoration plans are in order, the find was fun enough, and the tractor part now rests in a place of prominence in a small garden.

A small glass goblet was also found. Unfortunately, it was cracked. It would have been fun to use it to toast the find.

The metal was detected with a Radio Shack Discovery 1000 on the high setting.

On-Site Guest

While working on a walking staff, one of the carvers had a guest. This three year old black bear munched on hazelnuts that had fallen from a tree, while the human whittled. Both more or less ignored each other. (The photographer was a little more nervous, so the pictures are a bit blurry.)

The bear eventually wandered off into the meadow and the carver wandered back to the woodshop. Bears are more frequent at the end of the season. We let them do their own thing and they don’t disturb us. It’s a relaxed work setting for all parties concerned.