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Re: [birdsofbombay] more on Owl and Hosking's Eye

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  • vithal nadkarni
    Hi Folks: The owl that I talked in my last mail (about Eric Hosking s eye being taken by the brid) was indeed the Tawny Owl (Strix aluco) but the book that I
    Message 1 of 10 , Dec 1, 2005
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      Hi Folks:

      The owl that I talked in my last mail (about Eric Hosking's eye being taken
      by the brid) was indeed the Tawny Owl (Strix aluco) but the book that I
      mentioned was not `Bird of night'; the correct title I checked is ``Birds
      of The Night'' published by Collins, co-authored by Hosking with Cyril
      Newberry.

      Collins used to be represented in Bombay in those days by Blackie and Son
      near VT station. From their showroom came that gorgeous book of black and
      white photographs that I still cherish.

      Also. here is what I found on the Net from Hosking's own autobiography `An
      Eye for a Bird' published by Arrow Books (1973) about that accident:

      "The night was pitch-black, and so we decided to leave the camera and
      flashlight apparatus in position. But as we walked across the field to
      the waiting car we imagined we heard voices coming from the direction of
      the hide. Poachers? If my flashlight apparatus were stolen that would be
      the end of owl photography for that season. Should we go back?

      "We retraced our steps. I felt my way up the pylon and fumbled with the
      fastening at the back of the hide. There was not a sound, not even the
      whisper of a wing. But out of the silent darkness a swift and heavy blow
      struck my face. There was an agonising stab in my left eye. I could see
      nothing. The owl, with its night vision, had dive-bombed with deadly
      accuracy, sinking a claw deep into the centre of my eye."

      Hosking was just 27 years old. Early on, the doctors thought they could save
      the eye, but an infection set in that threatened both eyes, so the
      damaged eye was removed. Nevertheless, he went on to become one of the
      world's most renowned bird photographer in spite of the loss.


      vithalnadkarni@... wrote earlier:
      >
      >British bird photographer Eric Hosking, who lost his eye to a brown or
      >tawny owl, I can't
      >remember which, whose nest he was photographing with a blind. The owl went
      >in from below the blind and gobsmacked him right in the eye with its
      >claw.
      >Hosking's eye was gone for good but he went on to complete his assignement
      >and his beautiful ~Bird of the night~ book, which I was privileged to
      >receive as a young boy.
      >
    • shashank dalvi
      It was Tawny Owl to whom Eric lost his eye. shashank Dalvi. vithal nadkarni wrote: I heartily agree with Mandar that it s a
      Message 2 of 10 , Dec 1, 2005
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        It was Tawny Owl to whom Eric lost his eye.
        shashank Dalvi.

        vithal nadkarni <vithalnadkarni@...> wrote:
        I heartily agree with Mandar that it's a wonderful report Vaibhav has filed
        on the rock eagle owl, literally makes you go there with him in the field in
        your mind's eye.

        He's also absolutely right about owls attacking intruders; the most famous (
        or infamous?) case I can rememeber is of the pioneeing British bird
        photographer Eric Hosking, who lost his eye to a brown or tawny owl, I can't
        remember which, whose nest he was photographing with a blind. The owl went
        in from below the blind and gobsmacked him right in the eye with its claw.
        Hosking's eye was gone for good but he went on to complete his assignement
        and his beautiful ~Bird of the night~ book, which I was privileged to
        receive as a young boy.

        So better to use strong glasses and a helmet whenever you go probing around
        bigger owls' nests.

        Vithal Nadkarni




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