Wednesday, March 11, 2009

I have often said...

...that what this planet needs is a 20-foot flying predator.

But I'll take what I can get.

13 comments:

Neutrino Cannon said...

They are, indeed, utterly silent when they fly. I've been in a cage with them. You actually feel the wind from their wingbeats before you can hear it.

At least it wasn't snowy owls. Them are some grouchy SOBs and they are not afraid to attack when some poor critter wanders into their territory, up to an including wolves.

TJP said...

How much can an owl lift? I think Breda should wear some diving weights, just in case.


WV = "tshurang"; Hindi for: did someone just call me?

Geoffrey said...

The Great Horned Owl is a hell of a predator. Pretty much every other raptor in their range including Golden Eagles give them wide berth.

I still feel incredibly fortunate I've gotten to fly a couple owls to and from my glove.

Breda should be safe provided she weighs more than around three pounds.
(Rule of thumb is that a raptor can only lift about a third of its body weight.) If IFRC, the male great horned I handled generally weighed in around 870-890 grams, which would be a little under two pounds.

Anonymous said...

I was with some pro birders deep in the ONWR, there to see eagles' nests, when they showed me a Northern's "castle." They like to find a dead, standing trunk, strip it out, and make a nest in the hollow top. Eagles and hawks will not bother them. Looking through a Swarovsky on a tripod (I told you, pros)I said, well, it looks like some raccoons managed to turn them out. The senior birder took a quick glance and said, look again. They kill raccoons, skin them, and line the nest with their pelt to make the hatchlings comfy.

I do not impress easily. That did 'er, though.

SteveC said...

An owl once killed a man here in Indiana. He was doing an egg count, the owl dove on him and knocked him out. Then it landed and ripped his throat out.

Buffboy said...

I'm not sure if "impressed" would be the right word, but imagine fall motorcycling on a winding road in the mountains at night. Then the sudden opening of an 8' wingspan in your headlight at eye level as the great snowy snatches the snake your headlight so thoughtfully illuminated. Close enough that the snake's tail tapped the top of my helmet. "Impressed" is definitely the wrong word for that scenario but they do that too.

ditto said...

I think that the "victim" actually "screamed" is a tell.

aczarnowski said...

Heh. I'm pretty sure I'm going to shamelessly use that 20 foot predator line (with credit) a lot in the next four years.

Tony said...

...Damn. Everyone else has such intelligent things to say. And the first and only thing that popped into my mind when I read Tam's post was a Fast Show flashback.

"...With an owl!"

I'll get me coat.

Lissa said...

Neutrino, my owls were not so silent. Of course, it was a nesting pair who were foster parents to about fifteen chicks, so perhaps they felt the need to advertise. Loud clicking beaks announced danger every time we approached their cage. Good times!

Anonymous said...

Those skiers need to quit wearing hats with the little mouse-shaped pom poms on top...

Anonymous said...

Oh sure anon, blame the victim.

Neutrino Cannon said...

Oh yes Lissa, the beak click of doom that means you've really managed to cheese off an owl. I remember that noise.

I remember hearing it when I was told to sweep out this one cage, and was prior instructed that I should be prepared to use the broom to defend myself against one particularly grumpy owl.

Also, how in the hell does anyone fly an owl? Their talons shred regular falconry equipment 'cause they're too damn sharp. And if you feed one to get it up to speed, it won't pop the morsel into its crop like a hawk would; it'll sit there digesting 'cause owls don't have a friggen crop what kind of idiot design fault is that?

But barn owls are pretty nice. Surprisingly cuddly, which would work better if they didn't have all those sharp bits.