“I want you to see what you can find for me tomorrow,” Midas said pompously when he found Munro having a late-night meal of some pine cone seeds.
“Um,” replied Munro. He had no intention of ever looking for anything. In fact, he had decided to find a new nest, some place where Midas couldn’t find him, but not too far away or Sparrow-Girl wouldn’t find him either.
He would ‘move house’ that very night.
When he awoke the next morning, he felt a bit strange. His surroundings were different. Then he remembered. He had a new nest, not in the ferns, but under a pine tree.
Plop, plop, plop. It’s raining, thought Munro, looking up and around. But no, the sun was shining, shafts of it coming through the tree branches all around him. He stretched out a wing, got up and looked skyward. As he did, more drops fell, right on his little head!
Above him, halfway up the pine tree, he saw a dark form perched on a branch. Tears were falling from the creature’s eyes.
“Hello? What’s the matter?”
“Woe is me,” replied the spotted owl, “ I am grieving for my lost children.”
“What happened to them?” asked Munro, flying up to the branch below the owl. She was much larger than he, but somehow he wasn’t afraid.
“My nest was raided and my children consumed. And they were just ready to hatch!”
More tears fell down her breast feathers. “There are so few of us left, that I was so happy that I was to be the mother of more spotted owls...and now, hope is dead. And I’m all alone.”
Munro didn’t know what to say. There were so many new things happening in his life.
“I’ll be your friend,” he finally said. It was the right thing to say, “and Sparrow-Girl will soon be here. She’ll be your friend too.”
Megan the owl looked down, tucking her beak into her brown and white feathers. Her eyes were half-closed and glistening still with tears.
“Thank you,” she said. “I really cannot understand what is happening to the forest. My mother and her mother lived happily here for years. I myself am not a young bird any more, but I can still raise children. However, I worry about their future.”
“Why?” asked Munro.
“We spotted owls hunt at night and need the shade of big trees to roost in during the day. There aren’t as many big trees any more in the forests.”
And these will soon be gone too, thought Munro, but he kept silent.
Here was something else Munro wanted to talk over with Sparrow-Girl. He wished she would come soon while Megan was still there. He didn’t need to worry though, because Megan had fallen asleep on her branch.
It took Midas a little while to find Munro. The dove heard him coming crashing through the branches.
“What do you want?” asked Munro.
“What’s come over you?’ asked Midas, cocking his head to the side and looking hard at the bird with the pink stockings.
“I’m learning some things,” replied Munro, regarding the big bird, all black from his beak to his claws. Black on the inside, too, he thought.
Megan stirred a little on her perch and Munro tried to divert Midas’ attention. He suspected that the owl’s eggs were in Midas’ stomach.
“I’ll make it worth your while,” wheedled Midas, coming closer to Munro.
“You said that before, but I’ve had no pay for my work.” Munro’s little voice was stronger than before.
“I’ll pay you this time for sure,” declared Midas, lifting a wing.
“We’ll see,” Munro repeated.
Midas flew to his condo in disgust.