Re: [birdsofbombay] more on Owl and Hosking's Eye
- 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
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
>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.
- It was Tawny Owl to whom Eric lost his eye.
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.
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