Hootin Goes Outside!
Hootin’s Family (Chapter 1)
Hopping back and forth on the wide rafters inside the barn rooftop, Hootin was worried. “Where is your father? He’s been gone for days and days!” The speckled barn owl looked at her babies and then at the doorway. She was expecting Papa Hoot at any time.
“Eeeck!” was all the two owlets could say. They screeched for something to eat, looking hungrily at their mother. “Eeeck!” They turned over bits of straw, hay, and tufts of feathers with their little beaks and sharp claws. They scrounged their nesting area for a morsel to eat. Nothing.
Hootin’s stomach growled. Their dad, Papa Hoot, usually fetched mice or small birds for the owlets. Then it would be her turn to catch some food for them. Their teamwork had always worked well. I hope nothing bad has happened to Papa Hoot, but where is he? Something must be done, but what?
With eyes like two fine binoculars, Hootin spotted a little mouse in front of the barn door. Without a sound, she swooped down, caught the mouse in her sharp, knife-like talons and brought it to her little ones. Normally, it was easy to find food inside or just around the barn. She didn’t usually have to travel far outside. Papa Hoot had done most of the distance hunting.
Maybe I can zip out for a few minutes, eat quickly myself, and then catch food for them, she thought. “Will you be good and stay put while I’m gone? I’ll be right back with something tasty for you to eat,” she said to her baby owlets with round, blinking eyes and open mouths.
“Eeeck!” Still hungry, they flapped their small wings and stirred up dust and feathers in the nest, finding nothing. Although young and helpless, the small owls loved exercising this way. It made them feel big and important.
Hootin worried. “You’re growing up so fast. Soon you’ll be ready to use those wings. Oh, I wonder where your father is!” Her eyes searched the distance for him and only caught the usual sights. She sighed and thought about her responsibility as a mother - now on her own. I guess it’s all up to me.