My Snowy White Valentine

While snowy white storms have merely dusted Chicago this winter, that hasn’t kept the sky clear of Snowy Owls. The¬†majestic¬†birds caused a mama mia stir when they made Montrose Harbor a new pit stop in Illinois. Typically, Snowys stay to the north, but the a lack of food up there has sent them farther south to Chicago hoods in search of rats and other¬†delectables. Here they have found a basin of dry landscape running rabid with their favorite meals and¬†restaurants.This is bad news for any rodents that will end up as favorites on the owl’s menu. Check please!

@ 2011 Rick Remington

I guess I should feel grateful to the Snowy Owls who seem to like Chicago so much. I’m not much of a fan of¬†varmints! When I see a rodent, a¬†visible¬†and¬†audible¬†change occurs. Simply put, I loose my smooth jazz cool. I sort of needed therapy about the issue, but that’s quite another story.

I should pack up some gifts of gratitude for those owls. They deserve a pat on their cute heads, just like any other do-gooder. It’s Valentines Day and I should dash out to Montrose Harbor where the owls have their hang out. I could bring them a thoughtful basket of food … classic Chicago hot dogs and tootsie pops! Sort of like a welcome to new neighbors.

Except that would be crazy and even a lie. I don’t love those owls any more than I’d love my husband’s mistress (if he had one). You see, I’m the¬†victim¬†of a cruel love triangle. Greg can’t stop talking about those stupid, beautiful owls. Really, I can’t blame him … they are fascinating, and moving to watch. Looks like I need to get over myself. This is hard.

He showed me some pictures of a Peregrine Falcon attacking one of the poor owls.

“Why is that happening? Can’t that owl take down the hawk?” I ask.

“Oh hawks and owls always fight,” says Greg.

“That owl looks like a puppet. It needs to kung-fu kick some ass,” I say.

“I don’t think the owl knows kung-fu, but trust me, the owl would win this fight,” says Greg.

“I think the owl looks scared, ” I say. Next Greg gives me the “leave” look and I’m off to obsessing on LinkedIn and stuff.

Now those photos are being ogled by birders all over the world. I dare say they are more popular than Lindsay Lohan in Playboy Magazine. These owls keep getting more lovers every day. Can you feel the love?

Sure it’s Valentines Day, we may pop a bottle of¬†champagne¬†and eat some fondue. However, I fully realize he will be thinking of the flock of Snowys that have tugged his heart this winter. Really, I can’t blame him. Maybe I’ll wear something with feathers! Or, maybe we’ll be real geeks and have our own little picnic at the Harbor with them.

The Bird Widow

I always thought bird watchers came from old money and had¬†British¬†accents. I imagined them wearing knickers, fine¬†wool¬†caps, and viewing birds though solid gold opera glasses. ¬†They would say, “lovely,” a lot. ¬†Perhaps, another bird watcher profile could be a boy scout. ¬†A¬†lonely, nerdy boy scout with zero friends, a compass, and a ratty bag of trail mix.The LAST THING I would think is that I would marry a bird watcher, and the real picture didn’t fit any of my¬†stereotypes.

One word: B O R I N G .

My husband, Greg Neise, is a little crazy about birds. I’ve had to take a few deep breaths and finally deal. Why would this perfectly lovely, harmless hobby cause any marital distress? Why would I think, “okay this is super duper koo-koo¬†bananas“?

It all starts with one stupid bird who gets more face time with my hubby than me. He’ll take two days to see a Mottled Duck. Jealous? ¬†Not anymore…I’ve moved on (to shopping) and drinking! And I can tell the difference between the birds that really matter…like Wild Turkey and Gray Goose.

But anyhow, it’s madness. Neise will get up at like, THREE O’CLOCK IN THE FRICKEN’ morning! He makes tea, (annoying) gets on the phone (annoying) stomps around, (annoying) and kisses me goodbye (this I like! He’s the best kisser in the world, btw). ¬†So, a part of me wonders why my hunk of burning love is running around in the middle of the night, looking for birds instead of¬†snuggling¬†with me.

Simply said, he loves it! Birding (the pro’s term for bird-watching) is a smart sport! ¬†I fail to hear a bird song and recognize that’s a Robin. I wouldn’t make it past pre-school in¬†ornithology. I am actually amazed that Greg has such a font of¬†knowledge¬†about birds and wildlife in general. It’s fun being around such a smarty pants.

Still, I worry. Although Mister Neise has something that I lack called¬†coordination, I have considered the thought that he may¬†disappear¬†in the woods…or off a cliff. ¬†He tells me stories about his adventures and these tales only add to my¬†apprehension. ¬†He’s been chased by farmers.He’s been stuck in the mud. He’s stayed at¬†disgusting¬†motels that had hair all over the bathroom and sheets…plus the door had been kicked in. ¬†He’s puked like crazy at a truck stop…like the scene from Team America when what’s his face blows chunks everywhere. ¬†He’s put up with teen-aged MONSTERS! These are not, “…you had me at hello” stories. People wonder why I never join Greg on his birding trips.Why on earth would I?

I think I’ll stick to baking pies. ¬†And hunting down some Gray Goose for my now empty glass. Cheers!