Owls

ramonmercado

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Kenya's owl man defies superstition

By Wanyama wa Chebusiri
BBC, Nyeri, Central Kenya



"Owls are sensitive to colour. I have a red jacket which I always wear."

Paul Murithi

The screech of an owl is a bad omen in Kenya, taken as a sign that death will strike soon. However, in Kiawara village near Mount Kenya, Paul Murithi, 30, has defied his community's cultural and traditional norms to rear owls as a tourist attraction.

For the past five years, Mr Murithi has been feeding and protecting the owls in their natural habitation in a forest near his home.

While others make a living out of rearing chickens or ducks, the owls have become his main source of income.

"This was a childhood interest thing I started when I was nine or 10 years old," he says.

"I saw these birds in the bushes and was interested to know more about them."

He has no time for the superstition about owls being omens of death.

"I often used to hear these owls hoot, and I never had a relative die or anything like this."

Mr Murithi believes the owls have come to recognise him as the person who nurtures them.

"I try to protect their territory when they are nesting, and supply them food," he says.

"Owls are sensitive to colour. I have a red jacket which I always wear."

Tourists

In this owl sanctuary you may find 26 birds, some perched on tree branches and some living in caves across the forest.

Mr Murithi has erected roadside signs to direct his clients, especially foreign tourists who pay more than $1 to view the elusive birds with his guidance.


Omen of death - or tourist attraction?
Locals are not charged, so as to encourage them to appreciate the immense value of the birds.

"I did not believe at first that it was possible that someone was rearing such birds," said Patrick Njagi, a Kenyan visitor.

"I had to come and satisfy my curiosity that someone is rearing them and not fearing death. Now I have seen it is possible."

But among the residents of Kiawara village, people are sharply divided about the owl sanctuary.

Owls are nocturnal birds that feed, mate and migrate at night.

During mating, they make the loudest hoot that is considered a bad omen by many communities.

"If someone dies, the previous night those creatures cry a lot - so I just don't like it," said one woman in the village, who urged Mr Muthithi to stop tending the owls.

But another neighbour was more positive: "We think it will bring development to the area, as a tourist attraction," he said - a view which is echoed by the local authorities.

"There is nothing wrong with this young man as long as he has not broken any rule in keeping the owls," says Ben Kariuki, the area's chief.

"We urge other villagers not to associate this young man with anything sinister, as he is merely earning his bread."
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/5275678.stm
 
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Nemo

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That's what the world needs...more Owlmen :D
 

Ulalume

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There was a time (around '04 or '05) when the place we lived experienced a sudden influx of great horned owls - massive, scary looking things - they'd sit atop the buildings at night and just stare in that unnerving way. The strangest incident though, I didn't see with my own eyes - a friend saw it while driving by early one morning. It was just after daybreak and a mist was still rising from the ground when he saw at least 5 great horned owls, in a circle on the grass. Perhaps they were fighting, he wasn't sure - but they all had spread out their wings and were making threatening hopping movements from side to side. He said it was one of the freakiest things he'd ever seen - these huge hopping figures in the mist.

On one hand, I'm sorry I didn't see it, but on the other, I'm kind of glad I didn't!
 

Frideswide

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I kind of sort of know Owl Magic, FOAF style. I wasn't sure about the whole idea but having met them and the owls I'm a convert!

Huge public education efforts.

They passed their SSPCA inspection today with flying (ahem :oops:) colours.

Website's a bit 2005 mind you!
 

Swifty

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I kind of sort of know Owl Magic, FOAF style. I wasn't sure about the whole idea but having met them and the owls I'm a convert!

Huge public education efforts.

They passed their SSPCA inspection today with flying (ahem :oops:) colours.

Website's a bit 2005 mind you!
Owls are magic ..

 

Frideswide

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He is def a duck!
 

Cultjunky

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Well, it is getting chilly.
 

EnolaGaia

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There were reports of "luminous owls" in the East Anglia area during the first 2 decades of the 20th century. These were generally associated with earth lights / will o' the wisp sightings. Here's a brief description:

LuminousOwls-Dash.jpg

Here's the source:

Borderlands: The Ultimate Exploration of the Surrounding Unknown
Mike Dash
Overlook Books, 1999
Page 240

https://books.google.com/books?id=g...AQ6AEwAnoECDEQAQ#v=onepage&q=luminous&f=false

Dash cites this reference on the subject:

LuminousOwls-ClarkeCite.jpg
 

Min Bannister

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There were reports of "luminous owls" in the East Anglia area during the first 2 decades of the 20th century. These were generally associated with earth lights / will o' the wisp sightings. Here's a brief description:
Wonderful, what great story! :clap: I have always wanted to see a will-o'-the-wisp but a luminous owl would do just as well.
 

ramonmercado

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Owl Is Well

A firefighter in northern Germany rescued a trapped owl from a 40m-deep (131ft) well at a ruined castle, after descending on ropes.

A local had heard the distressed eagle owl hooting from the well on Saturday and alerted the police.

The Bad Segeberg fire service pumped oxygen into the shaft and set up an abseiling rig, after failing to lure the owl into a sack with bait.

The young bird is now safely in the hands of a local bat sanctuary.

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-53554755
 

hunck

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Even young eagle owls are quite large birds:

rescued owl


The report says there was very little air in the well, which makes me wonder what was there instead? Carbon dioxide, Radon?
 

Min Bannister

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The report says there was very little air in the well, which makes me wonder what was there instead? Carbon dioxide, Radon?
I think they meant oxygen. I loved the first photo of the woman cuddling the owl.
 

Lb8535

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I think they meant oxygen. I loved the first photo of the woman cuddling the owl.
I'm not so sure she's cuddling him. She has a death grip on the talons, he looks really pissed off, his beak is open, and she's trying to check his wing I suppose for injury. And notice the gloves.
 

hunck

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I think they meant oxygen. I loved the first photo of the woman cuddling the owl.
So more carbon dioxide than normal then? - what's edged out the oxygen? Is it that in a relatively undisturbed deep confined space, carbon dioxide tends to sink to the bottom, being heavier than air? Why would there be a low oxygen level in a space connected to the rest of the atmosphere?
 

Mythopoeika

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So more carbon dioxide than normal then? - what's edged out the oxygen? Is it that in a relatively undisturbed deep confined space, carbon dioxide tends to sink to the bottom, being heavier than air? Why would there be a low oxygen level in a space connected to the rest of the atmosphere?
Lots of decaying matter in the well, giving off methane and CO2.
 

Min Bannister

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So more carbon dioxide than normal then? - what's edged out the oxygen? Is it that in a relatively undisturbed deep confined space, carbon dioxide tends to sink to the bottom, being heavier than air? Why would there be a low oxygen level in a space connected to the rest of the atmosphere?
Yes I reckon Mytho has it right. Lots of stuff giving out other gases. Nothing replenishing the oxygen.

I'm not so sure she's cuddling him. She has a death grip on the talons, he looks really pissed off, his beak is open, and she's trying to check his wing I suppose for injury. And notice the gloves.
Spoilsport. :p I still like the photo though. :)
 
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