Ever since I was a girl, I have been fascinated by owls.
I lived in the country, far from school and school friends, so I was a child who had to arrange her own entertainment; and I could. Books were my friends, ever patient. And all the animals around our converted farm (my bedroom was in a converted outhouse) were a constant source of diversion.
Alongside the outhouse and stables was a narrow waterway. Home to ducks, herons, lots of rats and a bath for the cows and horses in the meadow next door. The banks of the waterway were planted with willows, ancient ones, which were mostly hollow and falling down.
In the willow nearest to the door of my bedroom there lived a pair of Athene noctua, I believe they are called screeching owls in English, but I'm not completely certain. (They are the smallest owl species in The Netherlands)
They used to call to each other, 'kieuw!', or 'werro!' when they got excited, but I used to pretend they were calling to me.
|courtesy of Natuurblad|
I didn't see them very often, which made it even more exciting when I did see them.
When I was a little older, I read about the totems of the Native Americans, and there was an owl amongst them, which was totally understandable to me.
|Steenuil, or Athena noctua|
The funny thing is that people keep sending me owl photos.