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Look, it’s me! Holding a owl!

There’s an owl rescue around here that turns up at some of the village fêtes and for a couple of quid donation they will let you hold an owl. So I did.

This pretty boy was taken from his mother on the day he hatched (she killed the first one to break shell), so he has no bleeding idea he’s an owl. You can stroke him and give him smoochies and he won’t rip the nose off your face and eat it right in front of you.

More than I could say for at least two of my chickens.

We have our end-of-Summer long weekend now, and I think we’ve just done the last of the fêtes.

Actually, the last fêtes are the flower festivals. These are peculiar little spectacles. They’re flower arrangements + tableaux, all around a village church.

So, next to the altar, there’s a flower arrangement, a golf ball, a hockey stick and an old sneaker: A Tribute to Sport. Under the stained glass window, a flower arrangement, some model cars, a set of car keys and an L plate: Passing Your Driving Test. (I am not making these up; I really saw them).

You walk around and gawp at them (there’s a program so you can keep them straight), then everyone has a cup of tea and a slice of cake and goes home.

Every Freaking Day of my life is a Monty Python sketch.


Comment from Scubafreak
Time: August 29, 2011, 9:44 pm

LOL… Any run-ins yet with the knights who say NI!!?

Comment from Mark Matis
Time: August 29, 2011, 10:43 pm

Betcha this owl could train your chickens to not “…rip the nose off your face and eat it right in front of you…

Comment from Christopher Taylor
Time: August 29, 2011, 11:08 pm

Owls are just cool, they look incredible and they are amazing animals. My dad saved a little one once, it was the size of his fist. We had a Great Horned Owl living in the tree when I was a kid, and it used to fly overhead at night as a silent shadow against the stars. It was so big it used to shock me.

Comment from Ric Locke
Time: August 29, 2011, 11:25 pm

One of my college roommates had friends who kept a pair of owls. The college maintained low-cost apartments for married students, and the owls would sit on the windowsill, heads turning in rapt attention as the small children went by. Then they would look at one another, jerk their wing-joints in an obvious shrug, and look back out the window, waiting for the next tot…


Comment from Spad13
Time: August 30, 2011, 12:59 am

Are you people NUTS! Owls are wosre than clowns! They are worse than spiders! They are Satan’s hand picked minions!!!

You know why those owls were watching the kids Ric? To see which ones were tenderest! So they could eat them first.

If you don’t beleave me just look at a Hironimis (Sp?) Bosch painting. What do you see Owls! Tourturing people! IN HELL!

I think I need a drink.

Owls why doe it always have to be fuckin’ Owls?

Comment from Scubafreak
Time: August 30, 2011, 1:04 am

Spad. dude. That’s SEAGULLS, not Owls…..

Satanic Shitbombers Extraordinaire……..

Comment from Sven in Colorado
Time: August 30, 2011, 1:10 am

Birds of prey of any make, model or year of production –(Kidding!)–
Let’s say: family, genus and species.

When we fish the high country lakes, we are trailed by bald and golden eagles, sometimes the errant osprey. They seek the gut piles and dead suckers we kill.

Every year when we head out to hunt plains deer and antelope, we are gifted with red tail and sharp-shinned hawks staging their migration. We also are blessed with the sight of the lil’ raptors, falcons and kites who are residents, rabbit and mouse hunters….Early in the morning, we are blessed with the sight of silent hunters, owls sweeping out of cottonwood breaks as we hike out to our favorite scoutiong points.

I am a fan of raptors, mostly because they love to hunt the same birds I love to hunt. AND, the ‘lil suckers are surgical scavengers!

Back at the end of the dark ages, I went duck hunting on the Little Thompson river with a friend. We took two drake Mallards just as the sun cracked the east….a muddy orange sherbert sunrise rising out of steel gray clouds. It was an ice born October morn. Paul remarked that he had seen a couple of barn owls rising out of the cottonwood trees as we settled into our little shooting blind.

It was cold…damp river cold…joint cracking cold.

Paul tossed the two mallards into the bed of the ol’ Toy truck and we headed back to the blind. There we had hot coffee and breakfast burritos warming.Once again there was the quiet rustle of owls rising from roost, winging into the sunrise, silent shadows against the sun. Two hours or so, no more duck flights low enough to shoot. The sun rose fierce and hot. Paul and I hiked back to the truck to find two Mallard carcasses, surgically decapitated, gutted and breasted.

Paul and I looked at one another….and simultaneously said:


Comment from beasn
Time: August 30, 2011, 1:10 am

‘Satan’s hand picked minions’

Other than Reid and Pelosi, I’d say goats and sheeps. It’s the eyes, man. They’re just begging to be sacrificed.


Comment from Frit
Time: August 30, 2011, 1:31 am

Hey Stoaty, is that a long eared owl you’re holding? *curious ferret is curious*

Comment from Mrs. Compton
Time: August 30, 2011, 1:33 am

Sounds like something from Little Britain!

Comment from Spad13
Time: August 30, 2011, 1:37 am

Scuba you can feed seagulls alka seltzer and blow em’ straight to bits. Try that with an owl and you’ll prolly loose a finger on an eye.

Sven if you look at Bosch’s paintings one of the demon owls favorite things is to disembowel the poor wretches in hell.

beasn I agree about the goats don’t trust them. Sheep are too dim to be dangerous. Unless they get an idea in their heads.

Comment from Ric Locke
Time: August 30, 2011, 1:46 am

We lived north of town for a while, in a house more or less in the middle of a flat. In back of us was ten acres, mostly hay field but a few trees around the stock tank at the back of the property. One of the trees was a big old oak, and near the top of the oak was an owl’s nest — a Great Horned owl’s nest.

Walking across the hay field at night could be surreal. The owl would be patrolling for voles, mice, &ct. at about head height for me, well less than six feet off the ground, and a human was just an obstacle to maneuver around. I’ve been clipped by her wingtip feathers more than once. The stories are true: they are absolutely silent. You can feel the air as the owl goes by, but you hear nothing, not even a hiss.

When we first moved in she took a couple of kittens that had wandered a little too far from momma. One evening just past dusk I was on the way back to the house and heard mewing. I searched through the grass to find the kitten, picked it up, and stood up, and there was the owl, doing a midair stall-halt. Her wingspread looked like a wall. I was too frightened to move, and she did a few urgent flaps, the only sound I’d heard her make flying. Then she wheeled and went off hunting, and she never took a kitten again. She did appreciate it when my wife decided to try to keep guinea hens. There is nothing a carnivore likes better than young birds, and that includes bird carnivores.

Then we moved to this place. There are a couple of hawks that live in the neighborhood, and they’re cool, but I’m sorry not to have an owl nearby. They’re good neighbors.


Comment from Can’t hark my cry
Time: August 30, 2011, 2:32 am

Cleanup on aisle 13

Comment from JeffS
Time: August 30, 2011, 2:33 am

All these comments on a post with a picture of Stoatie holding an owl, and not one hooter joke. Not one.

Well, it is Monday…..

Comment from Nina from GCP
Time: August 30, 2011, 3:08 am

Now that’s a pretty bird!

Comment from LordFlashHeart
Time: August 30, 2011, 3:54 am

Another Kiwi paper is running it now, and the mugshot is hilarious!


Comment from SCOTTtheBADGER
Time: August 30, 2011, 10:36 am

That is a very handsome Owl.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: August 30, 2011, 11:24 am

They called it an Eagle Owl, Frit.

Comment from surly ermine
Time: August 30, 2011, 12:57 pm

S.Weasel has sadly lost her natural fear of owls. (hides under table)
Apparently you have not seen THIS!

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: August 30, 2011, 2:07 pm


Comment from Mark Matis
Time: August 30, 2011, 2:45 pm

So, SWeas, you gonna go back and make things right wit’ dat owl??? Pop ‘im in a worshin’ machine and set it on da spin cycle to pluck his friggin’ feathers maybe?

Comment from Deborah
Time: August 30, 2011, 3:04 pm

Wonderful owl stories. They parallel my own experiences with barn owls and a pair of great horned owls, who kept a close eye on my Chihuahua (who was always looking down, watching out for snakes). Living on the farm was such fun!

I heard a screech owl late one night in deep winter, taking trash out to the dumpster. My brain realized what it was the instant I heard it, but it was too late for my heart, which had fallen out at my feet. Just thinking about it makes me shudder again. One of the worst sounds in the world.

Stoaty, did your chickens react to the scent of owl on you?

Comment from MikeW
Time: August 30, 2011, 4:42 pm

Hey Deb, was the call you heard the one listed as the B-song for the ‘Megascops asio – Eastern Screech Owl’?
Alone in the dark that would be pretty nasty to hear, especially if it were close by. Does sound a bit like a horse’s whinny tho. If the horse was from hell, that is.

Comment from Deborah
Time: August 30, 2011, 5:13 pm

@MikeW—what a wonderful website! No, the sound I heard was not the one you directed me to (which does sound like amazingly like a horse). The “call” I heard sounded like a train with the drivers locked down, squealing on the rails. It was a note not found on any musical scale (Satan’s maybe). It was truly a horrible screeching sound. I was living in Wheeler County, in the eastern Texas panhandle (bumped up to Oklahoma) at the time.

I assumed it was from a screech owl (my bad), but maybe not. I’m going to work my way through owlpages.com and see if I can find it. Thank you for the link.

Comment from Mrs. Hill
Time: August 30, 2011, 7:10 pm


My money’s on a Barred Owl. Texas is definitely in their range, and they can make some godawful shrieks — unearthly. Check out “Sound 4” here:


We have Great Horned, Barred, and Screech owls around our place — as long as they don’t call my name, I love hearing them. 🙂 The only bird that has ever buzzed me in the dusk, though, was a Woodcock — those little guys are nuts.

Comment from Nicole
Time: August 31, 2011, 1:20 am

The little fetes sound just too British. Awesome.

Comment from TOF
Time: August 31, 2011, 10:10 pm

Do rooks chase after eagle owls the way crows chase after great horned owls?

I don’t know what the crows do with owls they catch. Maybe get eaten by a very unhappy owl.

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