Country diary: Barn owls make the best listeners | Anita Roy
Smeatharpe, Devon: Pristine plumage, with a beak like rose marble - to be so close to this bird is astonishingI'm jittery. It's always a bit nerve-racking going to see a new therapist; in this case, especially so. I hope he doesn't bite. I drive down a bumpy country lane and past a barn to park next to a large white van. "Animal assisted therapy with birds of prey" is written on the side. Karen Stead-Dexter is standing with the back doors open. Inside the van are several large black boxes. Some of them screech. We talk a little about which bird will be leading the session today and put on our leather gloves."This is George," she says, then she eases the catch open and brings out a barn owl. First impression - well, to be honest, first, second, third and constant impression - is astonishment. He is absolutely beautiful. Pristine snow-white breast, pink-tinged beak translucent as rose marble, the distinctive heart-shaped disc of his face, his back and wings mottled with gold-brown flecks. Every feather uniquely suited to its function and place. He peers around with his dark brown eyes. Karen explains that owls' eyesight is actually quite bad and, unlike ours, their eyes are affixed to the skull so they can only look around by turning the head. As though to concur, George executes a perfect Bharat Natyam-style side-to-side neck wobble. Continue reading...
Celý článek: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/nov/30/country-diary-barn-owls-make-the-best-listeners
Zdroj: The Guardian