Birds like me. Always have done. When I was a child I would take injured ones from the mouth of my cat, try to save them. When we lived in Skeabost I found a young buzzard trapped in chicken wire. I wrapped my jacket around him and carried him to safety. He tried to eat me at first. I had to cover his claws to stop him grabbing at me. I took him to the vet, they fed him frozen mice and released him. For a year or so he sat outside my flat or dive-bombed my car. I didn’t mind much but he frightened the robin that lived in the bedroom. He terrified the woodpecker and the cuckoo who fed on the kitchen window sill. He sat in the trees with the owls and screeched while they woo-ed.

In Portree we had the sparrow hawk who sat on the back fence with her glare.

In Skirinish I met a male hen harrier while out with the dog. He was magnificent. I followed him over the hills most days. We bonded in a way. He knew where I was and I knew where he was. Woof and I could sit within several feet of him and he didn’t mind at all. He could sit in my garden and preen himself like a cat. The old dog otter would wander through the burn, watch me, watch Woof, watch the harrier and we all co-existed together,  knowing the hen harrier was the most powerful of the group.

Since then I met caged budgies who left their cage to sit and feed on my hand, which was sweet. But last night i met an owl. I saw the flutter over a ditch. Had caught the movement in the car lights. I sat so still for minutes. I then angled the car lights hoping to take a photo. She wasn’t afraid of me. Her eyes said stay there human, I am catching a meal. I think we were there for thirty minutes or so. She sat on the fence post for a while, just beside my car. I had the window down. She just stared in. Then, would fly and hold herself over her prey again, wings flapping fast but silent. She came back to the car and called in. She said something in Owl I didn’t quite hear. She flew off, back again, spoke again.

WHO YOU? You, who. You-YOU. You. YOU.  Straight in through the window of the car!

I didn’t understand. I went to a party. There’s a man I know can be owl-ish. He was there at the party. Without knowing anything of my earlier conversation, he translated for me.

There is wisdom coming. Even the owls are telling me now.

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