Midnight snack

December 21, 2019

 

My first real encounter with an owl took place in the middle of Toronto in the 1970s.  It was a normal mid-summer night and I was at an inner city, tree-lined neighbourhood intersection, when suddenly I heard this unworldly screech above my head, a tremendous rush of sound–like wind in a leafy tree–as though something unknown above me had collided with another object.  Then, right in front of me fell from the sky and onto the road a rolling, jumbled ball of feathers, violently jumping and heaving about, me not knowing what on earth was happening, nor able to visually make out anything other than this great confusion of feathers and screeching.

And then I saw an owl’s head very swiftly rise up from the feathery pile, stare at me for a split second before shifting its body and letting me see how it had a struggling pigeon in its grasping talons.  A few more jabs with its beak and the owl lifted off the pavement, its wings widespread and powerful, the pigeon weighing it down, as it climbed upward and out into the urban night to search for a place to finish its meal of squab.

The whole business only lasted but a minute, if that.  So violent and sudden was it, that I’ve always understood since that day why songbirds and doves always appear wary when at our feeders, and rarely do anything if not in a protective grouping.  Woodpeckers seem unaffected by much of anything going on around them, so I presume owls don’t consider woodpecker a delicacy.

barn owl, november 2017 a

‘Barnie’

watercolour on Arches 140# hot press paper

5 Responses to “Midnight snack”

  1. Thank you Snehal! I am enjoying your work as well.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. That was a scary incident! Liked the owl illustration and background too!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. ….great story. Seeing them perched at a bird sanctuary, glancing about, looking nervous and wary betrays just how savage and cutthroat they are where they rule.

    Like

  4. I adore owls. They are fierce and beautiful. There was one that swooped over me in my urban backyard at 6 in the morning a few years ago. Scared the “…” out of me.

    Liked by 1 person

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