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March 30, 2010

Owls come up casually in conversation. I used to refer to myself as a “night owl” (in my younger years, when I used to be able to stay awake past midnight!). And then, on Saturday, I saw an Eastern Screech Owl up close:

Imagine this owl nestled in a tree, with only its tiny head visible. And then imagine me pointing my (not so stellar) binoculars right at its little head, yelping with joy and complementing the owl on its (his? her? I forgot to ask my group leader) remarkable physique. And, if you want, imagine me getting side tracked by a squirrel and becoming dizzy from following the squirrel up and down a couple trees. I didn’t think pointing binoculars at a bird would be challenging, but it is. In fact, sometimes, when I’m trying to find the particular bird everybody’s raving about it feels like I’m playing “find Waldo.” Anyhow, once I managed to locate the decrepit looking tree everyone was talking about and once I managed to keep my binoculars steady and travel 2/3 of the way up the trunk, and once I managed to distinguish the owl feathers from identical looking tree leaves, I was in good shape.

I find it funny how casual expressions come alive when you can visualize every word. (I suppose this is estrangement or defamiliarization in action; I should have considered that years ago, when reading Victor Shklovsky.) So now, I can’t really refer to people as night owls casually, because I see the something like this in front of me. Not exactly the image you want in your mind’s eye when trying to have a conversation with somebody.

(Great Horned Owl. I saw one in early September in Whitby, ON. My one and only time in Whitby so far.)

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Fireweed permalink
    March 30, 2010 7:42 pm

    Owl sightings are magical. I haven’t seen many in my time (unlike you, I don’t actually go looking for birds) and the great snowy owl was the most dramatic – what a wing span! Owls always get me thinking of wizards, magic, and enchanted woods . . . and what a joy to listen to them at night.

  2. April 8, 2010 2:39 pm

    Wish I could remember who said–or even better, take credit myself for saying–that finding owls is easy: you just look at the tree and mentally eliminate everything that isn’t the owl.

    • April 12, 2010 5:08 pm

      Hm…tried that approach on Saturday, and was left with a bunch of crows and bluejays circling above us. Oh, and puddles on the ground, too.

  3. April 9, 2010 3:25 pm

    Oh my god. Those are the cutest. I especially like Angry Owl at the bottom.

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