Wednesday, August 31, 2005

I Understand Why You Thought That...

This is a barn a barn. This owl did not like being disturbed and it let me know with bill clacking, hissing, and this display of , "BEWARE MY BIGNESS!"

Walking into a dark ,supposedly empty barn and having a barn owl suddenly start it's defensive shenanigans can help you to understand why our ancestors assigned supernatural traits to the owl.

I like owls, but these barn owls give me the heebie jeebies, and it's not just because this one surprised me. It's that eerie face...a little too human-like, a little too alien-like, and NOT very bird-like. Throw in some bill clacking and weird sounds and it's no wonder the ancients gave owls all sorts of mystical qualities.

After this one surprised me, after my ..uhm, exclamation, after my pulse slowed, and after I took the picture, I had a new empathy for my ancestors.

Ancient peoples thought owls were spooky, wise, omens of death, weather predictors, departed souls and all that other stuff.

...I understand why you thought that.Posted by Picasa


pablo said...

Beautiful wing display. Great that you were able to get that photo. I'm not sure that I have ever seen a barn owl in my life.

Anonymous said...

Oh that is just great. I've never seen a barn owl either. Wow. It's so beautiful. I can see why it would be disconcerting to encounter this critter in a barn that you thought was empty. I wonder what it was trying to tell you about the future!
BTW-- Blogger won't let me post this comment with my login identity- Rexroth's Daughter, so this may post as anonymous.

Juli said...

There are one or two barred owls that frequent my backyard and the first time they give their distinctive hoot, it usually startles me. They seem to know the exact time I'm drifting off to sleep then they have at it. I've tricked them a few times and faked going to sleep. I hit 'em with a flashlight to let them know I was on to them. Very intriguing critters, for sure. Great photo--talk about good timing!

thingfish23 said...

Barred owls. I love them. "Who cooks for you? Who cooks for you-all?" Then they sometimes go into that insane cackling stuff. Really wild.

I'm jealous FC that you have barn owls as well. I've always kind of thought they were off-putting looks-wise, myself. But I still like them.

So far we've heard plenty of barred owls and have seen a little screech owl at the Band-Aid. No barn owls though.

Thanks for sharing that one. It's nice to know that, as dyed-in-the-wool rugged-Florida as you are, you can still get a little bit skeered.


Hick said...

We have a very large owl that hangs around here and eats little baby birds (in season) while the mother screeches from a nearby branch. His wing span is over 6 feet. Do you suppose it could be one of those beautiful barn owls? I can sometimes dimly see him sitting in one of our pine trees while he munches away on some poor creature...but I can never get close enough to him to get a real good look.

By the way...what's your owl standing on? Rafters wrapped in rope? Is that some kind of Minorcan Florida Cracker thing?

PS. The first time I ever heard the term Florida Cracker was when I read "Strawberry Girl" by Lois Lensky to my kids. Are you familiar with that book?

Floridacracker said...

I haven't heard of Strawberry Girl, but will check it out.

Thanks, It always amuses me when a bird puffs up like it's a tough guy.

I love barred owls too. Every year a pair raises a chick in our yard. They don't seem to mind us a bit.

Anonymous RD,
My son used to be afraid of the front door because he thought a scary owl (from Rock-a Doodle video) would get him.

They can really make some unusual noises. The sound seems to carry a long way also.

Thanks to all for the comments, by now you've seen my owl clarification above. It's always real here.