I’m no birder, and before this fall I had never seen an owl in person. That changed around November when a housecat-sized brown and white flecked bird with a yellow beak and talons began using the sumac trees at the border of our yard to rest. At first when we all ran out to see her she swiveled her head left, right and around. Her big black eyes seemed wary, and she moved her perch slightly away from us. The more she came by the more she seemed to know us, though.  She stared at us, her wide eyes narrowing with sleep even as I pointed my telephoto lens at her or as the girls went sledding down a hill, whooping and yelling right in front of her tree.

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