After reading of my adventure with checking out the owl’s nest, my friend John Davison sent me this poem which tells of an adventure from his boyhood in 1942, when he was around 13 years old. John and his friends would spend many hours in the fields and woods around Thurnscoe, Hickleton and Hooten Pagnel, out all day long exploring together in a way that youngsters rarely experience now.
The Tawny Owl – Stotfold, Thurnscoe, 1942.
So typical of old ash trees, its crown was torn away,
But why and what had caused it, I really could not say,
Very likely putrefaction, or lightning on the prowl,
All I know, there was a hole, wherein dwelt a Tawny Owl.
Scores of pellets, regurgitated, were littered everywhere,
Confirming, absolutely, an owl was nesting there,
Wait here, I ordered Judy, at that moment somewhat rash,
And immediately began to climb that ancient rugged ash.
Staring down on that owl’s nest, I could not believe my eyes,
Five curious chicks glared back at me, all of a different size,
Then suddenly the larger one lunged vengefully at my face,
And I was fortunate to escape in that confined space,
[Quickly I remembered that photographer* and a Tawny Owl,
Which assailed him as to blind him in an incident so foul]
So when the owl attacked me I raised a hand to shield,
And felt the bird brush by me to glide smoothly to the field.
I saw it floating to the ground then quickly thought of Judy,
Who usually was a gentle dog but could be somewhat moody.
If I did not get down in time she could kill that helpless bird,
That in mind I rushed down that tree as if by the devil spurred.
Oh, how dreadfully wrong I was, how misguided was my fear,
My Judy was the victim, the owl seized her by the ear!
She squealed so loud and pitiful, her blood in copious flow,
Speed was then essential to make the needle claws let go.
I placed the owl beneath a bush, as if in a nightmare dream,
Tenderly soothed that bloody ear in fresh water from a stream,
That trauma ended our meanders, no further would we roam,
And I with Judy, and the owl, made our weary way back home.
I kept that Tawny Owl for months until it could strongly fly,
Then returned the bird to Stotfold and waved a fond goodbye !
John Davison 2015