Owlet and Rose Photos


My mother saw it first. It must have been quite a shock; just glancing out of the window – my gosh! –



There it was, a blinking, fuzzy old fluff ball, looking rather grumpy but so sweet! It was sitting less than a room’s length (be it not a very tiny room) from our french doors, on the raised part of the garden surrounded by a gravel drive-way that we call the island.

Perhaps I ought to explain a little more. For a long while, our garden has been inhabited by two great tawny owls – gifts of Athene, the protectress of those animals –  or so I have always thought.

Day after day, we would look up and see them, sitting side by side on the branch, looking down with their wide, burning, searching eyes gazing questingly into yours, and their great heads swivelling amazingly far round.


Many times we have found what are almost defiantly the feathers of young owls about the garden; but we have never seen the babies before. It was a great excitement, then, as you may imagine, when we found a tawny owlet sitting on the island.

After the first shocks of delighted amazement, we began to consider what to do. We did not know at all whether the owlet was supposed to be on the ground – it looked considerably out of place there, almost like some incredible creature from another world suddenly set down in our garden. We are surrounded by different  neighbours, nearly all of whom have cats who not uncommonly venture into our garden – and we have even occasionally been know to have dogs enter from under the gate. We were therefore rather worried that some of these animals would prove predators to the baby owl.

I set to work googling, and found that

Hand rearing an owlet and releasing it later is not the best thing for it. Unless there is something definitely wrong with the bird, it is far better off remaining ‘in the wild’… It is important to note that young Tawny Owls usually leave the nest long before they are ready to fly and there is actually no point in placing such birds back in the nest. From approx. ½ to ¾ grown (around 120-220mm tall), Tawny owlets go through a phase called ‘branching’, when they walk, climb, jump and flutter around in the trees at night. The adults locate them by their contact calls and will feed them anywhere. It is not at all uncommon for owlets to spend time on the ground during this phase and they are surprisingly good at climbing back up again. It is very likely that the owlet you have is perfectly okay and if it is left where it is, or returned to the same spot, it will be fed by the adults and will be able to climb to safety.


“Tawny Owl babies are often seen on the ground in summer, where you should leave them alone! They are able to call their parents and even climb trees to safety. Adult Tawny Owls can attack and severely injure humans. Beware!”

We decided, then, to let it stay where it was; we could frighten away any cats that came if the parent did not. It was comforting to know that it was still under the parent’s guardianship, and had not been turned out of the nest. Incredible as it seemed that such an immobile looking fluff-ball could climb a tree, we trusted the websites, for all of them said the same.

So, everybody, that is what to do it you are lucky enough to ever see this amazing spectacle.

Note: This note is written a few days after I wrote the first part of this – I kept it un-posted as Jane Austen characters do with their letters so as to add more later. We have continued to see the owlet about the garden; sometimes it tries to fly, and makes a ridiculous spectacle, rather like a struggling bear with wings. It is clear that it can move about the garden much faster than you might have thought, and the parents regularly feed it. We are not as yet sure whether having seen the babies, as we have not done previous years, means that they are nesting in the garden, instead of in a nearby hollow chestnut as we before thought. 

Also, it was Thomas Hardy’s birthday on the 2nd of June.

And finally, here’s a slideshow of some pictures of the Incense Rose I took the other day:

And here’s a poem I wrote about it years ago:

I open with the sun –
The gentle sun of spring,
I overflow with joyous light
Oh, what the year may bring!
My dainty buds were forming
When the earth was bare and stark;
My ferny leaves made patterns
On my stems so rich and dark.
My leaves they are scented
Of incense do they smell,
Like a church as dark as winter
But of sweet spring sun as well.
I am no double rose,
Nor fit for any ball,
But I’m sure my simple beauty
Will please and charm you all.

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11 thoughts on “Owlet and Rose Photos

  1. Ide,
    I try to read and understand your posts.i think they are very good, but what does 79 year codger know? He knows what he likes.

    Are you doing any other schooling, such arithmetic. The year I was in grade 5 I worked my through grade 7 and 8 arithmetic books. There were some quite hard word problems in these books. I think there were one or two l could not solve.I am still bothered by them. I wish I had those books.

    Keep posted on your seven turns.

    Old grandad

  2. OMG!!!!!!! I love the owls (and owlet)!
    So cute (: are you coming to lzaac s birthday party?
    Yours sincerely Poppy Riley (:

    • Thank you!!
      Maybe you can see the owlet when you come; your coming soon, aren’t you? Looking forward to seeing you!
      We saw him successfully flying yesterday night (the owlet, I mean).

      • I would like to see the owlet. However, your eyesight is 20 times as good as mine so I may have a hard time seeing it. But it will be fun trying to see it. Did you notice how I used a number, 20, in the first sentence.

  3. What a wonderful entry, Ide! And how special to have owls in your garden. We had a barn owl, some years ago. Once when I was standing very still in the field at dusk, it flew all around me, circling wide then swooping up close. It was a magic moment.

  4. Thank you!
    Oh, that does sound magical! I wish I could have been with you when it happened! I love barn owls, with their lovely heart-shaped faces. Did you see its face?

  5. Old Grandad,

    Thank you! I think you know a lot!
    I just school myself really, from reading so much – but I’ve left off arithmetic lately, although I used to enjoy it and do it every day. I must get back into doing it, it is very bad that I don’t.

  6. Why don’t you like arithmetic? It provides another way of seeing and organising the details of the world and communicating them to other people as well as your self.

  7. I never said I didn’t like arithmatic – it like it very much, though not quite as much as reading – it is only that we have been rather busy lately so I sort of forgot about it. I will get back into it.
    I think you would be able to see it as you can get very close up. However, it probably won’t be an owlet any more when you come; it has just learnt to fly. Maybe you can see it grown-up instead.

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