When you look up the word ‘disdain’ in the dictionary, there should be an owl picture beside it.
It means “the feeling that someone or something is unworthy of one’s consideration or respect; contempt,” which is exactly the feeling I get every time an owl looks at me. How do they do that? I swear I can hear a contemptuous sniff at the same time they look down their
nose beak at me.
There was a lot of excitement at a nearby park a couple of weeks ago. Can you see what was causing the commotion?
How about now?
He opened his eyes just a sliver, saw it was only a bunch of pesky humans, and snuggled back into his nap.
We left him snoozing on his branch, resisting the urge to slink away…
Last weekend we went for a snowy owl drive, and were again put in our place. We spotted this big, beautiful male on top of a telephone pole, and very, very slowly drove closer to him. Inch forward 20 feet, out of the car but don’t close the door, take some pics, back in the car being careful not to make any noise. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.
He was busy scanning the countryside, and didn’t appear concerned.
Eventually we were directly across from him and he still didn’t care. I got out of the car and walked around to the end of it. He deigned to acknowledge my presence, and I got “the look.”
He then looked over my head to see if there was anything interesting on the horizon, as there was certainly nothing of interest on the road. Apparently.
Satisfied all was right in his world, he went back to his nap. We left him snoozing on his pole and drove away. Slowly and quietly.
To date, I have resisted the urge to bow, scrape and tug my forelock when viewing an owl. Any owl – doesn’t matter how big or how little they are – makes you feel like a bug on a windshield. We are clearly a lower form of life in owl world.
Owls are like the Rocky Mountains, or the Grand Canyon, or some other magnificent spectacle of nature. It’s impossible not feel humble in the presence of all that grandeur, and I’m convinced they know it!
Note: There are more fantastic photos of the northern saw-whet hacking up a pellet over on the Birds Calgary blog.