At first, when the hazel colored screech owl had determined what this creature was doing, she feared for her hatchlings who were now squealing with impatience. But now, as she looked closer, she noted that the creature was neither looking at the ground for the tracks of other ground creature, nor at the sky and trees for any sign that a sky dweller was nearby. Now she was convinced that the hunter below was not interested in any of the forest dwellers. She was overcome by curiosity, and hopped a little closer to the creature, whose long legs made deep tracks in the leaves and broke many branches as they flailed as if trying to get a proper grip on them.
The hatchlings cheeped louder, impatient for their dinner. She screeched a warning to them, and reluctantly turned to go. She fed them as swiftly as possible and sent her mate in search of more food, with the additional mission of watching the beast she had seen before and returning to report his finding. Her mate gave a loud screech of annoyance, and then flew off without further complaint.
The male screech owl glanced down at the ground, searching for best his mate had described. The wind carried him higher into the sky, and he screeched as he dove closer to the ground. He circled, looking for food.
There! A large grasshopper sat peacefully on a leaf below, it would make a nice treat for the hatchlings. He swooped down, extending his sharp talons, judging the distance to the grasshopper and the best angle of descent. There! It was a large grasshopper. Perhaps this would be the last flight he would need to make before morning. He took off, flying straight towards the hollow. Glancing at the ground, he finally caught sight of the beast his mate had described. He circled lower, but not so low that he would be spotted.
The creature had been joined now by another beast which carried a strange stick that glinted in the moonlight. The small owl was not very curious about these beasts, as his mate was, and felt compelled to deliver the grasshopper to the hatchlings as soon as possible. Still, his mate had been very insistent. Just as he was about to fly back to the hollow, a long eared owl settled on a branch nearby. Perfect!
The Whiskered Screech Owl let out a small screech of relief and landed next to the other owl. He made his request and flew back to the hollow. After feasting on a small mouse he had caught, he wondered briefly what had happened with the two beasts, then the sun began to creep through the trees and he closed his eyes, content to forget the whole matter.
It was two nights later when the long eared owl finally remembered his promise; the owls have very short memory. When he swooped down on the hollow just before the dawn the female screech owl gave a loud screech of alarm and the hatchlings began to squeak in fear. He gave a low hoot the calm them down and began to relate what he had seen. The beasts had begun roaring like badgers not long after the male screech owl had left. This went on until long after the sun had risen, and the long eared owl had slipped deep into sleep.
He had been startled out of his slumber when a loud roar like thunder filled the air. He had glanced down at the ground and saw the stick lying on the forest floor, and smoking as if on fire. The first beast was next to it, with its beak pointing towards the sky. The beast was lying in a pool of red water.
Birds may not know much about the ground creatures, but they did understand that the red water was poison. Red water meant death.
But the owls do not care much for the ground creatures, so the long eared owl had simply moved to another tree to avoid the mean mouthed carrion birds, which would soon be filling the area.