A natural portrait of an owl and a squirrel is when the latter is in the claws of the former. Owls and owlets are generally fond of rodents, and squirrels do fall under their diet regime. Strangely though, I have witnessed squirrels quite often in and around owl territories. And they seem to be more curious of their predators than afraid. In large abandoned quarries, they hop around while huge eagle owls rest a few feet away from them.
In this case, while the Spotted Owlet was dozing on a lower branch, this inquisitive little Three-striped Palm Squirrel came sneaking upon him, sniffed around a little, and hopped past him.
Upon giving it deeper thought, the only logical explanation I could come up with is that the owls are not diurnal hunters (except perhaps on dull days). So when the owls are not hungry, even the meekest of prey can fool around — as long as the sun is high in the sky!
*For those unfamiliar with Hindi, the title translates to “Uncle, are you asleep?”
Text and photo by Sandeep Somasekharan. All rights reserved.
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BTW, status quo on the book. Will meet reviewer shortly. Happy New Year!