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March 4, 2015 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Good ideas flying after bad.

other worldly portrait of Alice Liddell.1872 (Photographs by Julis M. Cameron)/USPD:pub.date,life of artist/Commons.wikimedia.org

Night vision or vision of night? (1872.Alice Liddell/Cameron/USPD:pub.date/Commons.wikimedia.org)

From out of nowhere they fly at you like bats in the night.

Frantic attempts to wave them off only results in feeling foolish moments later.

Venezuela President bans U.S. politicians from entering the country. (CBS news.)

Can we do that, too? Please? 

Life without politicians. Only a dream.

Do you ever wonder what keeps them up at night?

Every neighborhood has concerns about predators: odd spooky creatures who suddenly appear out of nowhere.

Like they’re hoping for a lift of something.

Then they’re gone just as quickly. As silently.

Maybe this explains some of it:

People are nothing like owls.

Obviously. Owls are covered with feathers everywhere while people only wear feather coverings occasionally.

Although, teenagers of both seem anxious to leave the nest before they are ready and end up getting grounded.

Despite human grumbles in disagreement, owls have a more difficult walk home. Some nests in those giant California redwood trees are 30 stories up. One foot in front of the other hoping to get there before mom finds out.

(Do owl parents screech about how far they had to walk as owlets? The equivalent to human parents droning on about walking miles in the snow to school?)

Moms are such nags. Always watching. “Eyes in the back of their heads.”

Owl moms practically do as their heads can swivel some 270 degrees. If humans tried that, they’d cut off the blood supply to their heads. Adaptations with bone structure and blood vessel design allow owls to twist about.

(Human moms don’t do too badly with instinct and video monitors: less twist, more shout. )

face of adult owl. (PBS.org/wnet.nature series. Owl Power)

“I told you to stay put while I was gone. Who did you think I was talking to?”
(screenshot.PBS.org/wnet.nature series.Owl Power)

Parents, while annoying no doubt to both kids and owlets, are welcomed sometimes.

Like when arriving with groceries.

A couple of owl moms in the video link below look eerily like that recent Dallas mom flying out of her car to stop a criminal. (“It’s a school zone!”) Courageous moms don’t back down when defending their babies against several arctic wolves, a much larger bird of prey, or some big fool in a high speed police chase.

Just as fascinating as clips of cute little owls, is the photography of flight and the scientific explanations of biological adaptations allowing owls to do what they do.

Their scooped heads function like satellite dishes and along with feather design bordering their faces, sounds are channeled to owl’s ears (which may be located at different levels on the skull) allowing owls to locate prey even under ground or snow drifts.

Snow limits their sharp sight, so hearing is critical for survival during winters like this one.

Oddly, both owl and human moms try to keep their young out of the rain. Not being water-loving ducks, owl’s feathers aren’t any more waterproof than designer clothes.

baby owls.Owlets. http: video.pbs.vi:wnet:nature:Owl Power)

“But, Mom, we’re fine.” UK Barn Owl siblings, Luna and Lilly, live free.(screenshot.http: video.pbs.vi:wnet:nature:Owl Power)

Who couldn’t be intrigued with engineering, physics, technology, the scientific method, nature-based product designs, and, of course, biology after watching Nature’s “Owl Power” episode?

PBS “Owl Power”. Nature series VIDEO

(“Owl Power” only available on-line until March 18, 2015. Then you may have to buy it.)

Gee. Sounds like education without walls.

None of that “Oh, science is all kept in room 101, math in 213, reading and writing sandwiched in there somewhere – with fine arts in the basement.”

Kids might get interested in science if they stared it in the face and it looked back. Or reached out and touched it – and it pushed back. Noticed it everywhere everyday rather than decoding and answering predetermined questions trapped and pinned in texts.

Knowledge all together. 

But that’s just a dream flying in the dark.

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge.

A nod to Cecilia Gunther (The Kitchen Garden) who recently had an unsettling close encounter with an owl. Perhaps hers was just an owl recognizing a kindred soul.

Woman standing on balcony. (1912.Evening gown by Jeanne Paquin/Concise History of Costume and Fashion/USPD: reprod of 2D PD art, pub.date/Commons,wikimedia.org)

Mysterious creatures of the night. Not so unlike.(1912Jeanne Paquin evening gown/ Concise History of Costume and Fashion/USPD: pub.date/Commons,wikimedia.org)

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32 Comments

  1. easyweimaraner / Mar 4 2015 1:36 pm

    I guessed it… my mom is an owl :o) great post, I’m a huge fan of owls, but I rather watch them in the forest or in tv than to keep them as pets… although maybe that would be the solution to solve our problem with La Poste :o)

    Like

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Mar 4 2015 4:03 pm

      You’re right, Easy. Owls need to be free to do their job. The trees in this neighborhood aren’t big enough for owls to call them home yet, but they can live in the wild areas of a nearby park and visit. You have to love their little faces and beauty of flight. Thanks for soaring by with a comment

      Like

  2. Seumas Gallacher / Mar 4 2015 3:07 pm

    …and there’s always that dreadful ‘owling’ thing that surfaced some time back, where people sat an owl on a perch and ran round it in circles…the owl would twist its neck to follow their run, circle after circle, until eventually the owl’s head fell off…

    Like

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Mar 4 2015 3:20 pm

      And the owls got their revenge by convincing so many humans to imitate owls perching in high/dangerous places during that Owling fad. Some birds don’t take a joke well…or don’t let on. Thanks for flying in with a comment!

      Like

  3. Ally Bean / Mar 4 2015 5:59 pm

    You know, I wanna like owls, to think that they’re wonderful & all, but they creep me out. Those twisty necks and those beady eyes… I dunno. Not a real fan. Except of Owl in Winnie-the-Pooh, of course. Now that’s a bird who doesn’t seem so menacing, more pedantic really.

    Like

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Mar 4 2015 6:25 pm

      Who could not love WOl! Appreciate what the owls do, but were rather neutral about them until seeing the all the slow motion grace of the ones in the show. (and all the geeky research stuff…research…it never washes off…)Done thematically, this episode could be weeks of classroom work across the curriculum. (Watching that grab of under snow/ground mousies. Learning to fly in the redwoods. That owl mom attacking those wolves leaping up from the ground! Amazing. Stunning. So much from dance to engineering concepts.) Sad science and all subjects are chained up in windowless rooms with only so much time permitted to each. And it could and should start with Wol. Thanks for adding a comment to the nest!

      Like

      • Ally Bean / Mar 4 2015 8:58 pm

        I’ve had a chance to watch the Nature special now, and I’ll admit that I was premature to dismiss owls altogether. Those little owlets “falling with style” are charming. Owls may never be my favorite bird, but they are amazing. Thx for the links.

        Like

        • philosophermouseofthehedge / Mar 4 2015 10:42 pm

          I knew so little about them, but the camera work in that episode. Amazing. Just stunningly amazing. Finely crafted creatures for survival. Thanks for flying in with your owl show reviews

          Like

  4. Littlesundog / Mar 4 2015 8:44 pm

    Oh I do love owls… but I’ve learned to keep my exuberance to myself around these parts. Living in Native American territory, I realize some tribes recognize the presence of an owl as a sign of an upcoming death in the family. Two years ago we were given owl coffee cups as gifts. Our home is an eclectic collection of wildlife/hunting/cabin decor so the cups were perfect with our “wild” scene. I stupidly served up coffee recently to a neighbor who is from the Wichita Indian Tribe. The horrified look on her face on seeing the owl cup immediately let me know I’d made a giant blunder. I quickly apologized and made her a fresh cup of coffee. WHoo knew an owl cup could cause such a reaction?

    Like

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Mar 4 2015 10:49 pm

      You do have to be aware of local customs there, too We had to watch ourselves as kids growing up. Not all Indians stay on the reservations. Not having fences around yards was always an early warning signal. I think it teaches kids to think and observe before doing something too stupid. But sometimes you just don’t know! (As I am watched over by several animal fetishes on a ledge – in corn meal! Not going to tempt fate at all.) Thanks for stopping by with such a lovely story to share

      Like

  5. reneejohnsonwrites / Mar 4 2015 10:42 pm

    Eyes in the back of the head for sure!! I love owls, and get to see a few now and then — mostly barn owls. But on New Year’s Day, a couple of years ago, my husband and I were driving from Bland, VA to Green Valley, West Virginia along I-77. It was a bit overcast. And suddenly we began to see large owls sitting in the trees next to the road. There were several and I kept feeling a bit like I’d dropped into an episode of ‘Harry Potter’.

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    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Mar 4 2015 10:54 pm

      What a cool scene. That really does sound magical. Somehow even after the encounter is over, there’s still something mysterious lingering. What finely designed creatures they are. They find humans quite unnecessary and uninteresting, it appears. From a whole different realm of existence. (and surely the owl road will find it’s way into a story sometime?) Thanks for flying in with a comment

      Liked by 1 person

      • reneejohnsonwrites / Mar 5 2015 10:44 am

        I was certain it was some kind of omen, but haven’t figured it out. Perhaps they partied too hard night before and were just hung over!

        Like

  6. sustainabilitea / Mar 5 2015 2:29 am

    I love owls and think they’re beautiful. Some years ago, I was fortunately to see a large snowy owl while on a horseback ride in the mountains in Wyoming. Not too many years ago in that same area, a friend and I were riding. It was her first time there, first time riding, etc. As we rode, an enormous owl flew from a tree and over the trail. Then it came back, giving us a second, good look. What an amazing experience!

    And don’t forget that song for and about owls, by the Who:

    Who are you?
    Who, who, who, who?
    Who are you?
    Who, who, who, who?
    Who are you?
    Who, who, who, who?
    Who are you?
    Who, who, who, who?

    (I know, they forgot some “o’s” at the end, but hey, it was probably the drugs.)

    janet

    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Mar 5 2015 11:28 pm

      Double great comment. Really unusual owl encounter and the perfect song (How did I forget that?) Thanks for the flight assist!

      Like

  7. EllaDee / Mar 5 2015 4:05 am

    Amongst the kindred soius of owls is not only Celi… When looking up the esoteric meaning of owls I encountered a description that befits a PMOTH… “The owl spirit animal is emblematic of a deep connection with wisdom and intuitive knowledge. If you have the owl as totem or power animal, you’re likely to have the ability to see what’s usually hidden to most. When the spirit of this animal guides you, you can see the true reality, beyond illusion and deceit. The owl also offers for those who have it a personal totem the inspiration and guidance necessary to deeply explore the unknown and the magic of life.”
    http://www.spiritanimal.info/owl-spirit-animal/
    Owls fascinate me too. Great post & clips 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Mar 5 2015 11:35 pm

      Whoa (or should that be “whooooo”) that’s spooky. Have a nice bear fetish (standing in corn meal, not tempting fate) on a ledge overlooking things, but may start looking to see if an owl one is waiting for me in the mountain. (Need a mountain fix right now – doesn’t matter about the weather when Mountains call) Thanks for swooping in with such a lovely comment

      Like

  8. PiedType / Mar 5 2015 6:22 am

    I’ve always been crazy about raptors, and owls may have the most personality of all. Fascinating, beautiful creatures.

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    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Mar 5 2015 11:39 pm

      They are all so elegant in flight, hard to pick one over the others.They certainly dismiss humans. Hope all the fly guys up there are getting enough hunting in this winter. I couldn’t believe that owl chasing off the wolves and the one leaping up like a martial arts pro from the ground to ward off the hungry hawk. Designed so well for survival. Thanks for diving in with a comment

      Like

  9. angelswhisper2011 / Mar 5 2015 9:12 am

    Philmouse, we have an Owl in the Netherlands who is attacking people, he did it last year too. Must be his hormones, but the people in Purmerend have to be very alert, because he attacks you from behind and as you already told us, you can’t hear him coming. Granny loves them, they’re fascinating and beautiful. I think she has eyes in the back too, ’cause she always knows where to find me 😀 Pawkisses for a Happy Thursday 🙂 ❤

    Like

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Mar 5 2015 11:43 pm

      Goodness. An attacking owl would be so sneaky and totally unexpected. Best avoid that area for a while. Find a nice sunny spot to wait it out…and make it easier for Granny. RC Cat sends a cheery paw wave from her snug loft in the closet where she’s waiting out the cold spell.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Sun / Mar 6 2015 3:35 am

    love that informative owl flight video . . . it’s amazing! the barn owl, so majestic a creature. thanks!

    Like

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Mar 6 2015 3:55 pm

      Cool to watch them fly. Technology is such a great tool to help explain how things work. Thanks for adding to the comment nest!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. roughseasinthemed / Mar 8 2015 6:58 pm

    I couldn’t get further than banning politicians entering the country. I drifted off into fantasy land.

    We have them round the finca, hear them at night. Never seen them though 😦

    Like

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Mar 9 2015 12:48 am

      Started to just stop with that part. Politics these day are not even vaguely thinking about the average person. Annoying. There’s a bit of talk around here for limiting the President to one term only. Might be a good plan. As it is now the elected president works about 2 1/2 years then starts running for re-election so nothing gets done for the rest of that 4 years. Term limits on all would help to break up the buddy-buddy relationships and power structure some. Might encourage some good people to run for office.
      Owls are cool. Hear them, too, but no sightings. Watching them in slow motion flight is really intriguing. Thanks for swooping by with a comment

      Like

  12. marthaschaefer / Mar 8 2015 7:25 pm

    Owls have always fascinated me. I have a “Who Cooks For Your” owl or two in my neighborhood. Not sure the kind but that is what it/they call out in the evening.

    As to education and knowledge – couldn’t agree more. Don’t google it, go outside and find it!!

    Like

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Mar 9 2015 12:24 am

      One of the nicest things about not living inside a big metro city is the night sounds – and being able to go out and enjoy them. Very cool you have resident owls close by. Glad you flew in with a comment

      Liked by 1 person

  13. jannatwrites / Mar 8 2015 9:30 pm

    Owls are beautiful and fascinating. Several years ago, I learned a bit from a Navajo co-worker about owls in their culture… they symbolize death. The company brought in an owl one day for a demonstration and the woman would not look at it. I imagine it must have been scary to her.

    Like

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Mar 9 2015 12:11 am

      Owl in the night have haunted many. Easy to make a cultural blunder. Some stand on the edge and tempt fate with owls. Bit of a shiver with your story. Thanks for flying in a comment to think about!

      Like

  14. Margaret Lynette Sharp / Apr 2 2015 3:00 am

    Amazing photo of barn owls 🙂

    Like

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Apr 2 2015 1:57 pm

      Technology has only made the appreciation and wonder of nature even greater. Owls must make excellent neighbors. Thanks for flying in with a comment

      Like

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