Saturday, February 23, 2013

An Owl visits my home

Seeking Freedom
Its about 11:30am on a Saturday. We are racing against time for a project deadline. Shwetha and myself are ultra busy tapping away on our keyboards in our room. Suddenly we hear a loud metallic clang. It was like some hard sharp object hitting against our steel railing. I don't bother. Shwetha looks up and almost screams .. 

"Chetan .. its an owl !

I was stunned! 
"What? Where?"

"Its inside the house!", she says. 

Barn owl at home
I look and lo and behold! We had a barn owl perched royally on the internal steel railing. Probably crows had chased it and it found shelter in our house (I found that out later). It had entered through the open balcony door (we were on first floor). Now it just sat there looking at us.
Looks everywhere
Darn! I just had the Sony compact. Nah wrong. I was lucky. I had some camera nearby. My Nikon DSLR was in the opposite room. This meant that I had to pass the owl to collect the DSLR. Ruled out. Shoot with what you have. So I clicked away a few snaps as the owl was inspecting all around. I even shot a video of it turning its head. We were all just looking at each other for about 10 minutes. It even pooped. We were lucky that it missed our brand new couch in the living room in the below floor. By just a few inches!

Suddenly the owl flew and headed straight towards us! At the last instant it turned and flew upstairs to my study via our internal staircase. Now upstairs all windows were closed and so was the door to our terrace. So it was trapped .. this was my chance.. I ran and got the DSLR and slowly started climbing up. I could hear frantic wing beats. Owls usually fly very quiet. I was thrilled beyond reason.

Entering my study I see this ...

Trapped in the grill

The owl had seen the window and tried to fly through and was stuck between the window grill and the glass window. It was trying to fly through the glass. I tried to approach and it began to frantically jump in that small space. I was worried about the wings getting damaged. I waited for a few seconds. Shwetha was more worried about it getting hurt and wanted me to free it immediately. It was looking totally forlorn...

Seeking help?

I moved very slowly and came near the window, initially it got more scared and was jumping even more violently. Then it settled down. I slid open the glass door very slowly as far as I could safely slide it, without touching the owl.

The owl still kept trying to fly through the glass. I took the snap that you can see at the very top of this blog post. Soon it figured out the exit and stepped sideways and flew away ... to freedom!

I ran outside to the terrace. I see the owl perched on the house in front of ours about 80 ft away. It was looking at me. 

Gratitude or just blinking?
Soon it looked everywhere, probably to make sure it was safe ... and by everywhere I mean really everywhere :)

It looked front
then back ...
then up ...
then down ...
then left ...
then right...
Ah its safe! It took off and I got my flight shot...

The take off
Vanishing into the trees
It landed on a nearby tree. I climbed 3 floors down and ran towards the tree.. but it was gone. 

Just the previous weekend I had been to Jayamangali Blackbuck Reserve with my best buddies Vijay and Ashwin along with Shwetha and Tanmay. Everyone had got an owl shot. I had missed, royally! Everyone had pulled my leg in jest. I had been challenged to get an owl shot in 2 days. And within a week, the owl had come searching for me .. talk about luck! 

Anyways this was one of my luckiest days with a camera.