Lifescapes Gallery

5 / Feb / 2014
The Vice Owl!
Indian Eagle Owl, Kabini Photograph: Kiran Poonacha Story: Rajesh Ramaswamy

The Vice Owl!

We have all grown up on a diet of stories about the animal kingdom, where each denizen is anointed with a descriptive tag that’s added a filter through which it has always been viewed. So, we have had the ‘greedy’ pig, the ‘cunning’ fox, the ‘majestic’ lion… all immortalized through the good offices of comicdom. In the avian world, the most intriguing has been the ‘wise’ owl, an almost Solomonesque creature of the dark who wore a haloed hat of wisdom shrouded in mystery, unlike our modern day television seers who believe in basking in the halogen lights of publicity. There is one owl, however, that hasn’t had the best of PR in the myth-infested alleys of popular native culture. The Indian Eagle Owl is a large, majestic creature, with a distinctive face, handsome horns and a deep, resonant voice, who should have been the star of many a Jollywood (the jungle film industry, for beginners) blockbuster, but has instead come to be cast as the perennial villain. Tarred wrongly as a bird of ill repute, and a harbinger of bad luck, this gorgeous sentinel of the dark has found no protection from the dark shadows of superstition. The eminent ornithologist, Salim Ali, notes that, while a range of superstitions are hung on their necks, a couple of them stand out as the most popular. One is that if the bird is starved for a few days and beaten, it would speak like a human, predicting the future of the tormentor or bringing them wealth, while the other involves killing the bird to find a magical bone that swims against the current like a snake, when thrown into a stream. These barbaric practices prove again, that the true villain is actually Man, as we seem to care two hoots for our own reputations even as we sully others, just to profit from it.

We at Orange County have loved sharing this story with you, and shall bring you one every fortnight, as part of our Responsible Tourism Initiatives to raise awareness about the nature and culture of the environments we operate in.

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, February 5th, 2014 at 5:23 am and is filed under Birds . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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User Comments
  1. G.Rama Krishna Rao says:

    Nice photo graph with note, the entirely feathered legs, Orange eyes and conspicuous tufts on ears can be seen clearly which are the basic characters of Indian eagle owl are associated misfortune in India, as people believe the Indian eagle owl predicts death of family member if it vocalizes from the roof of house and one of the bird used in Black magic. UP, Patna and Hyderabad are market centers.

  2. vinay says:

    Nice resorts

  3. Dr.U.Ravi Rao says:

    The story of the Indian Eagle Owl by Kiran Poonacha is so well taken! The story by Rajesh Ramaswamy is equally fascinating!
    My compliments to both of them.
    May we have more such interesting stories!

  4. Dr.U.Ravi Rao says:

    The photograph of the Indian Eagle Owl by Kiran Poonacha has been so well taken.
    The story byRajesh is equally

  5. Praveen Pinto says:

    This picture & the accompanying article are both rivetting! Thank you for highlighting the plight of these beautiful birds, will humankind ever learn??

  6. Dr Ajit K Huilgol says:

    Fabulous image, Kiran! Something that we have got used to, coming from you!

  7. Linda Hipwell says:

    Beautiful article by Rajesh Ramaswamy…superb by Kiran Poonacha….flooding memories of our stay at Orange County last year, nice way to start my day….thank you and shabash!

    • rajesh ramaswamy says:

      Thanx so much Linda 🙂 I’m sure Kiran’s as chuffed as me….of course I have one advantage over him: i get to work with a fabulous photographer like him…lol 😀
      Anyway, we’re so, so happy we could help you begin your day with an owl sighting. Do come back soon. The birds and beasts of Coorg and Kabini are waiting 🙂

  8. Narayanan Raju says:

    What a lovely shot by Kiran and an equally well-written piece by Rajesh. I wonder how this picture was shot during day time, when owls are supposed to go out only during night.

    • rajesh ramaswamy says:

      Thanx Narayanan for the kind words….as for your question, guess I’ll leave it to Kiran to answer….which I’m sure he will, unless the whole thing nvolves magic potions, spells and stuff 🙂

    • Kiran Poonacha says:

      Dear Mr. Narayanan,

      Thank you for your kind words of encouragement.

      Yes you are right, Owl mainly hunt at night. But are also active at sunrise and sunset. This image was made at sunset as the owl left its roosting place from under an old tree towards its hunting grounds. I have also encountered them during the middle of the day, this is mainly because they roost under trees and rocks during the day and are often disturbed by passing mammals such as deer or cattle from their roost.

      hope this helped sir…

      Regards, Kiran.

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