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Leap Day!

February 29, 2012

In honor of Leap Day, here is a photo of a Great Horned Owl confronting a squirrel, taken by my friend, the talented photographer and birder, Benito Chia. Could you imagine their dialogue? Suggestions are more than welcome.

On a completely unrelated note, my new favorite classical music radio station (WNED) recently broadcast a special episode dedicated to — you guessed it — music inspired by birds (in one way or another). I caught the tail end of a piece by Olivier Messiaen, who was obsessed with bird songs and circumnavigated the world (or parts thereof) in search of exotic songs (he was a fairly gifted ornithologist as well as astonishingly gifted composer). And then, I encountered the music of Dutch composer Alphons Diepenbrock (1862-1921) who was a classicist as well as a composer! Toward the end of his life, he wrote incidental music to accompany great works of Greek and Latin literature, including Sophocles’ Elektra, and, more to the point of this blog, Aristophanes’ The Birds, which he composed in 1917. Here it is, in all its glory!

Who knew that while revolutions were thundering through Russia, back in Amsterdam Mr. Diepenbrock had birds on his mind! Happy Leap Day, everyone!

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. March 1, 2012 8:20 am

    What a fabulous photo! Who can ever take such a spectacular shot? Certainly not me…even if I had a fancier camera, I’m sure I’d never see such an image or be able to get my camera in front of my face quickly enough to capture it if I did. Genius.

    I imagine the conversation this way:

    “Uh, I was just taking a stroll here, would you mind if I passed?”

    “Sure, come right ahead…”

    or maybe:

    “Why Mr. Owl, I thought you’d be asleep by now!”

    “I’ll be turning in right after I eat my breakfast.”

  2. March 1, 2012 10:06 am

    It never ceases to amaze me what and who squirrels will try to take on. They are so aggressive and relentlessly annoying! What a delicious little owl snack. I once saw a robin beat up a squirrel that kept trying to get at its nest, I dread to think what that owl did next.

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