I still remember the first time I encountered a barn owl. It was a sleepless night in Southern California. I walked outside the house barefoot and walked towards the closest streetlight. I’m not sure why. I found the moon and then walked into the grass. I got close to the large palm tree in the neighbors yard and from within its branches came the most abrasive screech.
And it took off. With not even a whisper.
I couldn’t think of anything to say which was convenient because barn owls don’t speak much English.
Some eight years later that sound brings me so much delight to hear. It only rings in to me in the dead of night. My on going soundtrack to living. Through the window in Oakland or a quiet neighborhood in Berkeley. It’s like a letter in the mailbox from that friend you have that’s always traveling. Or like hearing a song that you listened to once with someone special who later drifted away for one reason or another. So many roads since then.
They still show up though when we break out the paint.
This Barn Owl is a melanistic variation. It has excessive pigments in the feathers making it darker. This occurs in many species in the animal kingdom, not just in birds. The first Barn Owl I saw was not a Black Barn Owl, but rather a white one as is usually the case. Black Barn Owls dont survive well in the wild as they don’t blend in. No camo, no cover.
Thank you for joining me in looking at the wealth of amazing birds around us.
Learn, Love, Respect, and Protect.
Every day is Earth day, and every day is a good day to draw a bird.
The top of my list of places I’d like to go and see. They have all the badass snakes, spiders, jellyfish.
I chose the Southern Boobook owl to paint for my owls of the world collection.
I don’t own the rights to any photos of one, but crack open another tab on your browser and check these birds out. They’re very cool birds.
I used a couple books to guide me on this one.
“Owls” by Marianne Taylor. 2012 Cornell.
“Owls of the World” by Dr. James R. Duncan. 2003 Firefly Books.
You don’t see a lot of Boobook Owls here in Oakland. In fact most owls here are plastic and intended to strike fear in the hearts of the pigeons. It doesn’t do much, nothing fazes them. Though the Peregrine Falcon that lives on the hospital building wrecks shop on them.
This was a very fun painting to make, it closed up my book project. Which is now available here: http://www.blurb.com/b/7086777-owls
But back to the point. Boobooks are native to mainland Australia, New Guinea, Timor, and the Sunda Islands. They hunt from a perch for small mammals like mice. Also taking insects like beetles and moths. Coloration varies widely across their range. (That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it.)
Thanks for looking at owls with me.
They take me to a golden sienna morning either long ago or that maybe never happened.
The lyrics in your eyes beckon a smile from under the rock pile that is my days since you left.
It’s different here now. I wouldn’t know how to explain it. Though if I had the chance to talk, I could think of better things to discuss.
Almost 25% of my goal. Since April 2015.
Last night while riding my bike down Telegraph in Oakland I looked up and saw an absolutely giant shooting star. I thought somewhere in the back of my mind I was forgoing moments like that by moving to a big city. It was a nice reminder that not all is as it seems and indeed once in a while you can get shown an actual light in the strangest of places.
You just need to look up.
Today I woke up with three goals.
I’m grateful for these opportunities to explore and enjoy.
I had a delightful afternoon of painting owls and laughing at my own jokes.
My jokes, like when I put the Nashville and the Tennessee Warblers on the same page, this map was begging for the largest owl of each region…..right?