Pracsticks (TM)

Pracsticks (TM)

All it takes is a little Pracsticks (TM)

~ clever tagline from my fantasy infomercial selling commonly found items to beach owls

O.K., so even though I don’t really feel like demystifying this strange looking photo of Maria, I will. It would be fun to just leave it hanging (heh heh) but the caption is punny on two levels and it looks like Maria might be impaled or maybe strung up on the flag pole.

Besides, what is actually going on here is pretty adorable.

Like any good baby Snow Owl, if Maria wants to actually make it back to the Arctic from New Jersey and maybe one day have babies of her own, she has to learn to survive. And we all survive by having good skills. Mine, unfortunately, happen to be whining, and complaining loudly to the right people.

Since she is just a youngster and does not yet have all the skills she will need, Maria likes to practice by playing on the beach. She’s a good girl like that. No wonder she’s in charge of the Island and at the top of the pecking order.

On this evening, like many others, Maria is starting the day by playing. Here she has grabbed a largish and unwieldy stick and is attempting to stick multiple landings on the flagpole without dropping it. Perhaps she is just working on her landings, or maybe, just maybe, she is trying to learn how to take a perch while carrying prey.

She started by attempting to make a clean landing with the stick in her mouth. But the strong winds were blowing the unwieldy stick all over the place and throwing her balance off. She dropped it several times. But she certainly wasn’t giving up. Next she attempted to hold it with one foot, while sticking the landing with the other. That went a little bit better, but looked painful as she clung violently to the pole with her sharp talons to keep balance while the stick again flailed in the wind, smacking the pole loudly and pushing her other leg all over the place.

In this final attempt, which was exceptionally clever, she attempted to hold the stick in her beak, while stabilizing the other end of it by squeezing it between her tiny, floofy little legs. This left both sets of talons free to grab the pole.

While she never did figure out how to, or maybe didn’t find the confidence to, grab the pole while the stick was braced by her mouth and in between her legs, it certainly shows some cleverness and tons of spirit. This went on for quite some time. I’d estimate she made at least 20 different attempts.

Thanks Maria. Thanks for reminding us that no matter what it is we might want to do, or need to do, maybe our best shot at making it is to stop trying so hard and start playing a little more.

And if you just can’t get enough of baby beach owls learning to be big boys and girls….