Friday, April 15, 2016

voyeurism (and owls)

I've been staring at my screen again all day, and sometimes, yes, that means staring at the chapter that I'm writing, and sometimes it means staring at baby Great Horned Owls.  These are on a webcam - two webcams, indeed - trained on a nest on Skiadaway Island, Georgia.  Have a look!
Look quickly! They are getting ready to fly - they're 42 and 45 days old, which means that their wings are developed enough - they're just starting to practice, stretching those wings out and flying across the nest. Periodically their mother drops off something tasty, like a mouse, and sometimes hangs out with them for ten minutes or so (I watched them eat a mouse as I ate my own breakfast this morning).  It's horribly windy there - I worry about them ... but this afternoon they did the sensible thing, as you can see in the top picture, and closed their eyes and slept.

I have a long standing relationship with owlets.  When we lived in a tower of Naworth Castle, in Cumberland (when I was between the ages of 3 and nearly 7), another tower - Lord William's Tower - had a priest's hole - a secret chamber under Lord William's Library where a Catholic priest would hide, if he needed to, after the Reformation (amazingly, I found a video of this on-line ...)
When I was six, I remember being taken by a neighbor to look at that very windowsill in the hole that you can see in the video - which had a big owl's nest on it, with some little baby owls.

It's ironic that I should be writing about paparazzi, and the invasive nature (once again) of flashes, and unwanted intrusions by cameras, when I keep checking in to a surveillance feed ...

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