Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Revenge of the Birds?!?

As far as big red barns go, it doesn't get bigger, redder, or barnier.
Image online here

I exited a rural store, or diner, set in the ground floor of a renovated classic red barn. Yep, a barn red hanger with white trim. Immediately I noticed a Great Horned Owl fly from a tree nearby into a small grove to the left, adjacent to the establishment's dirt parking lot. This was one humongous bird! Like, moms grab your kids huge. It then dropped from it's perch atop a thick dead tree trunk in the forest, to the leaf litter below; clearly in hunting mode. Somehow it missed it's target; a Rock Squirrel that scurried away, eventually burying itself in the leaves. The owl then flew back up to its perch upon the tall stump.

Great Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus)
Image online here

A man and his daughter came walking from the parking lot and went right to the base of the owl's tree. This is the point, as the detached observer, where you feel confident in predicting what's going to happen next; when you're aware of your profound powerlessness to do anything about it. Sure enough, this gargantuan 8-9' tall owl dropped down toward the man. It didn't attempt an attack from above, as expected. Instead, it settled on the ground, drew itself to full height, and faced him. They both proceed to grapple, "mano a ala (Spanish for wing)", as it were.

 I hope you find this imagery as funny as I did in the dream itself. It looked ridiculous.  It reminded me of a match between Godzilla and one of his many foes - minus the lasers and fire breathing. After those first few moments of hilarity, I actually began to feel concern for the guy. What if he were horribly maimed or eviscerated? It'd be my first bummer bird dream. In the end, the father held his own. The denouement saw a pause in the skirmish.  The owl took advantage the opportunity to avoid further risk, or to save face,  and flew deeper into the forest. The man, apparently not worse for the wear, found his daughter quickly, and both fled out of sight.

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