Posts Tagged 'owls'

Great Horned

Bubo virginianusBubo virginianus, bold as daylight.

Turf and Owl

I’ve been reading Neil MacGregor’s Germany: Memories of a Nation, a deeply thought-provocking work even with its sprawling and superficial, in the best sense, scope. I wanted to make a note of Dürer’s famous rhinoceros, highlighted in a chapter on the master, in these pages of blog, but a pebble dropped into the mines of memory made me wonder if I’d done so before. I had, on the occasion of reading MacGregor’s earlier History of the World in 100 Objects.

In this new book, MacGregor writes that so powerful was Dürer’s image that 215 years later, the makers of Dresden’s porcelain menagerie modeled their rhinoceros on it, even though Europeans had a pretty good idea what rhinos actually looked like by then.

So instead of Dürer’s rhino again, I present his Das große Rasenstück, the Large Piece of Turf, a 1503 watercolor. Although he never saw a rhino, you can imagine what a fine job he would have done with a representation of the actual animal, instead of just a written description. He was a very close observer of nature.800px-Albrecht_Dürer_-_The_Large_Piece_of_Turf,_1503_-_Google_Art_ProjectAt least nine plants have been identified here.

Of course, one can easily go on and on with AD. I also favor his Klein Eule, Little Owl, another watercolor (for someone so well known for his copper plate work) of 1508.the-little-owl-1506.jpg!Blog

UPDATE: It turns out that the authorship of the owl painting is quite contested. It is certainly attributed to AD, but controversially so. Fritz Koreny’s Albrect Dürer and the Animal and Plant Studies of the Renaissance, the catalog of a 1985 exhibition, is quite sure it isn’t. The monogram and the date being added later, the brush strokes different, etc. Still, a lovely piece. Let me know if you have further information.

Who Wow!

Bubo virginianusThree Great Horned Owls (Bubo virginianus) were recorded in Brooklyn (Kings Co.) during the Christmas bird count. Wow! Yes, this is one of the most common owl species in North America, found from backyards to deserts, but three of these big birds in the borough seems pretty good (I know of three others elsewhere in the city). A fearsome predator, they will go after prey larger than themselves, but like a lot of raptors will eat anything they can catch, no matter how small.

This picture is from some distance, through the branches of another tree (and yet it still sees me). It’s good to keep your distance and be respectful of roosting owls, who are resting during the day. The birds are more important than the photograph. The American Birding Association has a code of ethics that all good nature-watchers should follow.

Quite a few owls real and imaginary are found in these pages of blog.


owlA wise old owl faces the future unblemished by the ravages of time.

Still Watching

Bubo virginianusYou can see, in the snow, the footprints of those who have been walking right up to this roost. I’m good from here, though, on the road, perhaps 50 yards away, and the very limited angle of view — a few feet either way would obscure us — where owl and I can stare at each other.

Who Indeed?

Bubo virginianus
Winter’s day ~
an owl’s yellow eyes
watching me.

Nest Door To The Owl

Accipiter cooperiiNot fifteen feet from the Barred Owl, buried in some Yews, was one of Mr. Cooper’s Hawks (Accipiter cooperii). The hawk was closer to me — I was closer to it than it was to the owl — so it looked substantially larger than the owl, but the owl is a larger bird. Was the hawk hiding from the owl? Accipiter cooperiiEvergreens are great places for birds to roost in winter because of the cover they provide.


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