the saw-whet’s talons are perfect. curved, needle sharp, fueled by reflexes that are blink-of-an-eye quick and tendons that respond to struggle with an exponential increase in pressure (see also: needle-sharp talons).
despite having nearly 30 years of raptor-handling experience and having fully assimilated the “grab their feet before the feet grab you” tenet of raptor biology, i am footed regularly by those affable, cuddly little bastards. there is nothing predictive in their response and indeed, the docile saw-whet upon extraction from the nets is fully capable of inflicting physical pain and emotional carnage on the poor, innocent foolish owler that let’s his or her guard down.
last night, after the rain squalls ended, i set up the two time- and owl-worn nets and had my customary front row seat for a strigidaen evening. owls popped immediately but then, the winds came and persisted and i spent the last hour debating whether i should continue or seek comfort and solace in bed where…i am a true viking.
i still have yet to experience the “omfg” owl night this year, but have a sneaking suspicion it could be tonight, given the calm, overcast skies, and the absense of whorish moonglow within the landscape.
bring on the talons.