General

The darkness was no barrier for the long-eared owl. In the inkiness she swooped on a rodent using hearing alone, grasping it first time, her talons sinking deeply into its still living flesh. A bark nearby let her know her mate was near. Once alighted she hooted back before beginning her meal. The mouse could scramble with its legs all it wanted, it was going nowhere.

General

It was an owl that belonged in the paintings of a children's book. Its ear-like tufts were reminiscent of a teddy bear, yet it stared with yellow eyes befitting a witch's cat. His plumage was a mottled grey-brown, as as such he was almost blending into the gathering gloom of nightfall. Then he let out a series of low hoots, four, possibly five and before opening out large and rounded wings. In flight the only sound was the rhythmic beating of the air, and once he soared high it was carried away on the breeze, too quiet to alert any prey. This was a predator capable of taking down mammals larger than itself, but perhaps tonight it would content itself with rodents. Likely it was a Great Horned Owl, but Lara would check her photographs against her guide book before uploading her sighting, she so hated to be wrong.

General

The owl ruffled his feathers and turned his back. Apparently dog kibble is not a suitable offering to win his affections. His classic owl-shape is utterly lost in that exaggerated ruffling of feathers, now he looks more like an over-stuffed child's toy. The rapid beak clacking and stiff fidgeting of his feet is almost enough to make me laugh, but I held it in as I watched Claire approach with a grin- her hands quite red and dripping. She opens them to reveal cubes of raw beef and somehow the bird knew. When I turned my gaze back to him he was sleek and smooth, his head twitching from right to left as if unable to decide the best angle to view his "prey" from. In moments he had the meat in his talons, ripping at it, quite unaware we were even there still...

General

Casper just couldn't love the Snowy Owls the way his sister did, to him the Barn Owl would always be more handsome. Their eyes were dark and soulful, not yellow like a serpent. While their faces were a soft creamy-white the tops of their wings a delicate tawny brown. From above and below you could be forgiven for thinking they were two entirely different birds, white from the ground and brown from the sky- the same sort of camouflage dolphins use. He watched the keeper toss it a mouse, already dead, and then draw it over the summer grass on string. The owl opened up his wings and swooped in it, just one pass was needed to have it firmly in his talons.

General

The owl was as pretty as the one from the movie, just like Hedwig, only a boy. His face was a soft white as was most of the rest of him. As he stood on the tundra, yellow eyes failing to see us in our camouflage, we estimated him to be almost thirty inches in height with a likely wingspan of a metre and a half. It was nesting season and this fine fellow would be needing a mate. From the duskiness of his plumage we figured him to be a middle-aged bird, not as brown-flecked as a young male nor as purely snowy as an elder one. From above came a female, darkly barred her white body. in her talons was a lemming, not yet dead. Her black beak ripped at it over and over, ingesting its red meat like a kid eating candy.

General

The owl had a head like a perfect peach and a body the shape of an almond, liberally coated in feathers the colour of vanilla sugar. He peered at us with those alien eyes and we at him with ours. Two species with a shared planet and doubtless some shared DNA, but no perspective in common at all. His world is three dimensional, simple, clean. He lives moment to moment, unaware of mortality and uncomplicated by moral dilemmas. He hunts, he eats, he sleeps, he reproduces. There's something to envy in that.

General

In all the years Ivan had walked the woodlands he had never seen an owl. On occasion he had heard a dull hoot and stopped in his tracks to listen and watch, but so far his only reward had been a fawn-coloured feather in the mud. One evening when his mind was on a new project he heard nothing at all but felt a whoosh over his head a sharp pain in his scalp. An exploratory hand came away sticky. If the owls were mistaking his hair for a delicacy perhaps it was time for a hair-cut.

General

The owl must have been a living definition of beauty in life. If a picture is a thousand words this creature would have been a novel. In death it was stuffed and mounted, likely after having its life snuffed out by a bullet. Its once soul-full eyes had been replaced with black glass and the feathers were dull without the oils of a living bird. It had been transformed from something bewitching to a ghastly ornament for its killer.