THE SPOTTED OWLET (Athene brama) – Natural history in verse!

by

Ashwin and Aditi Baindur

 

Spotted Owlet (Artist: Aditi Baindur)

 

When I go for an evening walk
along the tree-lined CME street,
there is bound to be an interesting creature
or two that I am sure to meet.

Sometime its a palm civet
or nightjar with chuff chuff call
mostly its just a little owlet,
grey-spotted but half foot tall.

Not just in Pune is he found
In South Asia wherever he can be
From sunny Mekran to rainy Indo-China
and Kashmir to Kanyakumari.

From sunny Mekran to rainy Indo-China, and from Kashmir to Kanyakumari

People in our North call him chughad,
Khussatia or even oodloo.
In Bengal he is called Kuture pencha
And in Sindh he is known as Chibiru.

Some foolish people think him a bad omen;
he is named after wise Athene.
Bobs his head to Brahma for his name,
in mythology he carries Laxmi.

The Owl (Ulooka in Sanskrit), seen at Laxmi's feet, is the traditional vehicle of Goddess Laxmi. (Click image to reach source. Reproduced under fair use).

An owlet pair are always found
on the signpost of 253B,
from where they are perched in shadow
but the lighted path they can see.

On this road they aren’t quite alone,
I find them on ‘most any tree,
every fifty yards or outside each garage.
We indeed have an owly colony!

The little ones of the field and garden
are welcome guests to their feast –
mice, centipedes, insects, beetles
even snakes and scorpions they eat.

Spotted Owlet and prey! (Owl Image:J.M. Garg, on Wikimedia Commons)

Their house is in in a little shelf
between the rafters and my bungalow roof.
From outside there is very little sign,
some pellets on the floor my only proof

that a quaint little family dwells in my bungalow
quietly along with me
and helps look after my interests
by eating small rodentry.

November to April is their special time,
to start a little family
beginning with four white spherical eggs
the fledgelings away in weeks three.

Fledgeling Spotted Owlets with squirrel (© Jagdeep Rajput / ardea.com)

A noisier pair I’m yet to find
so bold and confident are they,
chirruk chirruk they screech at dawn
and chirwak chirwak ending day.

I like the owlets very very much
though they watch me very closely!
Now he bobs his head, she turns hers around.
I’m sure they also like me!

NOTICE  –

  • Text of poem under Creative Commons 3.0 Unported.
  • Image credits – see individual images.
  • This poem appeared on CME Weekly on 25 Dec 2010. Copyright rests with author.
  • Information: Spotted Owlet. (2010, December 22). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 14:19, January 2, 2011, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Spotted_Owlet&oldid=403714746.

Image: J.M. Garg (from Wikimedia Commons)

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5 Comments on “THE SPOTTED OWLET (Athene brama) – Natural history in verse!”


  1. Nicely done… and thanks for the pics. I never knew owlets were chooooo cute 🙂

    “In Bengal he is called Kuture pencha”

    … also called ‘lokkhi pencha’. The name says it all 🙂

    P.S. Wish you a fabulous year ahead… and good to see you back @ bloggersville 🙂

  2. Radha Nair Says:

    Aditi’s drawing of an owl is very nice matching the poem beautifully. In fact I hope there will be more of her pen and ink sketches in this blog

  3. Bilgi Yarışması Says:

    Thank you for taking time to share this information with everyone.


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