When I saw the two balls of white fluff huddled together in the corner of a wooden box, it was love at first sight - I had discovered the owlets known as "Maggie" and "Boomer." I watched them on Ustream, checking in daily - sometimes several times per day - to see what they were doing. When my insomnia had me up late in the night I'd watch them move around the nest box, and listen as they made little noises while they waited for "Mom" or "Dad" to deliver a tasty treat. I fretted, like a mother hen (!?) over whether or not they were getting enough to eat!
My addiction to "Maggie" and "Boomer" only increased when I visited the blog about them - there were videos, updates on how many treats they'd received in the night, and still photos of the "babies."
For weeks I've watched the little owlets, and in that time they've gone from wobbly fluff balls, to almost full- grown owls. Just recently, when they were nearing the time when barn owls usually make their first trip outside the nest box, I felt like a distant owl "mom" as I watched late in the night hoping to see their first adventure into the world. At one point little "Maggie" peeked out of the box, bobbing her head around to see what was "out there." I cheered silently, "Come on Maggie! You can do it!" She almost made it out before she retreated back to the safety of a cozy corner. I stayed awake, watching and waiting, until I couldn't keep my eyes open!
The next morning when I read that later that night both owlets had made it to the outside, I felt like I'd missed baby's first step.
Now, it won't be long before the little owlets leave the nest to make their way in the world. I will miss watching them! I thought briefly that they could just stay in the nest and never leave. It's comfortable and safe in the nest; the parents bring them their food. They could live right there like that forever...
but then they would never achieve their full potential as adult owls.
And at that moment, I understood in a small way, what it must feel like to experience "empty nest syndrome."