Saturday, 9 April 2016

Osaka: owls

So since I was in Osaka with M-san, and there was an owl cafe, of course we wanted to visit.

The remainder of the post will consist of adorable owls.

Play along at home with this owl-spotter's guide!

Here I am, with owls!

I can't identify this owl

I think this is a Spotted Owlet, Athene brama?

Possibly a Brown Wood owl, Strix leptogrammica?

Further Spotted Owlet

Not sure, but tremendously cute

Barn owls I can do. Tyto alba

Perhaps Northern White-faced Owl, Ptilopsis leucotis?

This one I can do - homo sapiens right there. Obviously this is adorable M-san with what seems to be a Eurasian Eagle Owl, Bubo bubo. Perhaps Bubo bubo omissus?

I don't know this lady, but the owl seems to be a... actually I have no idea. The guide doesn't help much.

Owls On Heads, my next album title

This is simply unfair. I protest strongly.

Sudden burst of activity

Man, I wish those neighbours would shut up.

These tiny owls are unfazed.

This even tinier owl (about 3" tall) has a fixed expression between neurotic and about to peck your eyes out.

The downside is that because there are so many people wanting to see and hold the owls, you can't actually spend very long admiring any given owl. I feel the wildlife parks and aviaries may be a better bet, although the proximity is very nice.

This lady delivers a 5-10 minute induction at the start of the session, while drinks are served. She explains the rules of owl-handling, which owls can be safely approached and which are to be left in peace. There are very strict rules about flash photography because it can injure owls permanently, or even kill them (their eyes are very sensitive). Holding the owls' tethers tightly is another important rule. That being said, I did see one lady drop three (three!) owls, or rather loose them enough that they panicked and did a combination of falling off and flying away, which is all quite distressing. Particularly as we are strictly warned to make sure none of the smaller owls get close to the eagle owls in case they attack. I was rather unhappy that the staff didn't forbid her from holding any of the owls after at least the second incident.

It turned out we weren't actually supposed to be taking pictures at this point (reasonably enough) but I already did, so... here it is

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