Farewell to the Snowy Owls at Sunset Park

By Marilyn Zuckerman

Photo by Andrea Loewen

(Photo by Andrea Loewen)

Goodbye to the migrants from up north
— from that other latitude
where when food became scarce
they flew south to fend for themselves.
Two teenagers from the Arctic
roosting in trees
or sheltering against a brick chimney
Only the blazing yellow eyes
glaring down at us in disdain,
black and white barred feathers
standing out against the sky.

No more daily visits to the park
where folks loaded with binoculars
and scopes gathered together
to stare up in wonder at
this icon,
this mythic animal,
this totem visitor,
— its rare appearance
met with reverence and awe…
and the ritual question of birders everywhere…
“Are they here today?”

⋅     ⋅     ⋅

Owl Fever 2

Yes, during the winter of 2012, Sunset Park became a place sacred to the two Snowy Owls who had alighted there to survive the winter. We made daily pilgrimages to the park and learned to greet others in owl-born friendliness.

Those who had seen one or the other or both, gave directions—which tree, which house or pointed to those who had gathered together with binoculars and scopes under a tree and were looking up.

We shared pictures and information…that they lived on the rats dwelling on the bank going down towards Shilshole, that they were fighting as adolescent males of many species are wont to do, probably for territory.

Finally there was only one left and now there are none.


PNA Swoosh


5 thoughts on “Farewell to the Snowy Owls at Sunset Park

  1. Your poem, Marilyn, nicely captures the two sides of this snowy owl coin — the sadness caused by their departure and the happiness in knowing now that they are moving on as nature intended. Maybe they will be back Winter 2013 and I will get to see them this time.

  2. In a world where so many walk, head down, fixated on hand held devices, it is wonderful to hear about those who look up and find the snowy owls among us! Thank you, Marilyn, for giving me a glimpse of this heart warming happening at Sunset Park.

  3. Pingback: Farewell to the Snowy Owls at Sunset Park - Marilyn Zuckerman Marilyn Zuckerman

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