Drexel On The Road: Backyard Owls Bring Smiles & Hope

Drexel on the Road

This week’s Drexel On The Road report takes us to Pensacola’s Bayou Texar, where we went in search of a story about owls and ended up finding a story of hope and renewal.

Vince and Shawna Fisher have lived on Bayou Texar in Pensacola for years. They are used to seeing dolphin, ospreys and even the occasional bald eagle. But when something new showed up this year, they were surprised and thrilled!

“One morning, I was out here in the yard and I could hear her hooting but I couldn’t find her. And I think it was a couple of mornings later Shawna started yelling, “there’s owls in the osprey nest!” And it’s been ‘on’ since then!”

The “her” in question is a Great Horned Owl who, along with her mate, has taken over an osprey nest in a very tall pine tree in the Fishers’ back yard.The Fishers are used to wildlife visitors, but when a mama owl came to roost, it was very exciting!

“Shawna started yelling, “There’s owls in the osprey nest!” Vince said with a laugh.

Shawna adds, “I looked out there and there was this big fuzzy looking thing next to the mother owl! She added, “I said, Oh, wow! He looks like an angry bird!” referencing the owl’s distinctive look around the eyes. “I think my kids think I’m a little crazy because I’m always out here with the cameras and binoculars!”

While most of us are fascinated by owls and would be thrilled to watch an avian “family drama” play out in our back yard, the owls’ unexpected arrival and the birth of the cute baby owl meant a little more to the Fishers. They say that along with the usual signs of spring, the owl nest represented hope.

“I’ve had cancer for six years,” said Vince. “Every second means more to me than most people’s days or years. I see things I didn’t see before. I think things I didn’t think before.”

The Fishers and I talked about illness, the pandemic, and all the weird and sometimes wicked weather we’ve been through the past year, agreeing that it’s been a tough year for everyone. They hope the story of these owls will stir up hope in all of us that better times are on the horizon.

“It brings on a new vision, an awakening, and gives you hope that things are okay and they’re gonna’ be okay,” Shawna said.

Vince added, “Because this (nature) was here a long time before all this mess started I guess it shows that there is going to be a renewal and it is going to get back to normal.”

Both of the Fishers say they believe it’s important to slow down and really look at the nature that’s around us.

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