Check out the pair of owls that came to roost on my mother-in-law's verandah in Recreio, Rio de Janeiro. Beautiful, aren't they? Anybody know what kind of owls they might be?
I always feel awe when I come across an owl. Here in Mozambique (and in other parts of Africa, if I'm not mistaken), owls have a pretty negative connotation and are associated with death and sorcery.
I vividly remember coming across some huge owls while driving at night between Espungabera and Chimoio, holding my breath while they flapped their wings as if in slow motion and took flight just in the nick of time.
Just last month while doing field work in Gurue, in a gorgeous part of Zambézia province, my friend Andrew and I saw a big owl swoop down at night to catch some unseen creature in the lawn in front of the dormitory where we were staying.
I also clearly remember owls from my childhood. There were several barn owls that lived in the trees surrounding the house where I grew up in New Mexico. As part of school activity in 7th or 8th grade, we had to find and dissect owl pellets. Pretty crazy stuff. You can see from the droppings how easily these creatures can take on macabre associations.
Nonetheless, they are on my good list. They eat rodents and snakes, and just with that I'm happy to have them around.