Never relax around owls

Strix uralensis - Ural owl - длиннохвостая неясыть

Академгородок, Пироговский бор

 

We went for a walk in our pine forest today - just casually - and on the way back decided to check whether there were owls in the owl house this year.

 

I came to the big tree where the owl house was, and there was no sight of the owls. I walked around for a while (during my previous visits last year the owls would let me know of their presence by flying from tree to tree at some distance).

 

No owls. I had my new toy with me, a bb gun, and I fired it into the trunk well below the owlhouse once, hoping that the knocking sound would attract the owls if there were any owls there at all (my ornithologist friends use a slingshot for the same purpose - "Knock-knock!"). Nope, no effect. I then came closer and sat down about 10 m away from the tree to mount my tele-lens to have a closer look at the house.

 

 

That's when I got owled.

 

 

It could be the owl-related concussion (it hit me really hard!) but I find the whole thing totally hilarious ))))) and I feel genuinely sorry for the poor owl. It must've been so scared for its chicks to decide to attack me from behind without any warning (no flyovers or clicking), and while I was still on the ground, at least 15 m away from the nest (which was about 7-10 m up in the tree).

 

Here's yours truly, having stopped and wiped off most of the blood.... (petrified mom took the pictures).

 

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here's a fun website, very related: owltheory.blog.lemonde.fr/

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Taken on June 6, 2012