Some years ago the Poekies took a two year break from the Planet. They moved to a vacation house in Tiburon. It was a beautiful home perched high on a hill. The Poekies loved to sit on the balcony and look at the view. They could see all the way across the bay to San Francisco. They watched the sun rise and set, they saw sailboats floating like birds on the water, and ferries making their foamy white trails. They could hear seals bark on the docks, and in the tree tops just below them, they would see squirrels rushing around. On warm days the Poekies would be in the swimming pool. On cold days they would sit by the fireplace.
Night time on the balcony was exciting too, and the Poekies would have spent every night outside, if their mommy hadn’t told them that it wasn’t safe. Sometimes animals would crawl up to the balcony and the raccoons would make an awful racket arguing as they ran up and down the trees.
It was such an exciting place to live that they almost forgot their friends at the Planet. But here is one adventure that was so exciting that they are very happy to finally share it with their Planet friends.
It was March when the Poekies moved to Tiburon. The hills were green dotted with purple flowers and everywhere was the buzz of springtime coming. In these first two months the Poekies learned all about the owl’s call, because every evening after sunset, the owls would start their gentle conversations.
One would say, ‘Hoo-hoo.’ And another would answer, ‘Ho-ho-hoo.’
Or one would start with, ‘Hoo-ho-ho-hoo.’ And from somewhere else the reply came, ‘Hoo-ho-hoo.’
On and on it went, all night long, every night. The Poekies had gotten to like these nice conversations, they were much better than the arguing raccoons. So they practiced owl-conversation themselves, and many nights followed in which the Poekies hooted with the owls. Although their mommy had said that owls eat mice, the Poekies were sure that these owls were not so bad and must surely know the difference between a Poekie mouse and an ordinary mouse.
Then a time came when the nights fell silent, and the Poekies missed their owl friends and wondered where they had gone.
Summer came and with it a new sound. This time it was not a very nice sound. Actually, it was a horrible sound. Every evening when the sun was setting, a screeching started that was so loud that the Poekies had to close their ears. It went on all night. Everyone who visited the vacation house was dismayed by the horrible noise, even their mommy was affected by it and couldn’t sleep as well as before. She said that this is how nature is, most of the time beautiful and sometimes quite annoying. But whatever animal was making such horrible sounds, it couldn’t help having such a voice. After all, it takes humans years to teach babies not to scream so loud when they are hungry.
The Poekies did their best to keep their ears closed at night. Sometimes during the day, when it was quiet, they would still practice their gentle owl conversations.
Summer came to an end and the nightly screeching became less frequent. One evening when the sun was setting and the Poekies were sitting on their balcony, they heard a rush of strong wings flapping over their heads. They looked up and right above them, two big birds came flying over and settled on a treetop just below their balcony.
Their mommy came running out, ‘Oh Poekies look, those are owls! And see how one is smaller than the other? It must be a mommy and a baby!’
With that, the big owl said, ‘Ho-hoo.’
And the little one cried,’Screech! Screech!’
Then the Poekies knew, ‘Oh mommy, all that screeching all those nights, that came from the baby owl crying for food!’
“You are right,’ said their mommy, ‘even baby owls need time to learn how to ask for food in a polite way.’
The Poekies were so happy that they started hooting to the owls. The mommy owl looked surprised, but the little one tried to hoot back. It sounded much better already, which encouraged the Poekies to hoot some more. That’s when their mommy took them inside, because she wasn’t very sure that owls can tell the difference between a hooting Poekie mouse and an ordinary mouse.
If you would like to know more about the Great Horned Owls that the Poekies saw, and hear the sounds they heard, click on this link: http://www.owlpages.com/owls.php?genus=Bubo&species=virginianus