Winter Preenings


Barn owl feathers

I’ve collected these feathers over the last few months.  The soft, feathery gifts lie beneath the Barn Owl’s nightly perch, and show me she stayed there a while to preen.  Sometimes there is just the tiniest wisp of grey fluff in evidence, and at others, treasures like these.  They are so soft and light – I’m holding my breath whilst looking at them and staying quite still – the slightest movement sees them gust upwards and off.

barn owl feathers

Barn owl feathers have special qualities – which they need for that slow, silvery, silent flight and they spend a lot of time carefully preening to keep them in the best condition.  Barn Owls have evolved a rather irregular and slow moulting process, which usually happens around September, so as not to affect their flight whilst shedding.  I can tell where they’ve been hunting, or  resting up too, from the snippets of leaf, grass, twig and undergrowth mixed up in the preenings.

Barn Owl feathers

I wonder if it is a sort of madness to think it, but to me it is communication – my owl leaving me messages and knowledge of it’s wild Barn Owl life.  This is Barn Owl speak (my owl doesn’t like to be seen) which I’m trying to understand best and fast as I can.

I think we must listen to the wild more.





  1. Comment by ellen abbott:

    I think humans have gone insane and the cause is their separation from nature. living in huge urban environments is not good for us.

    • Reply by Jennifer:

      I think maybe you’re right. Do you think there is a return – perhaps a bit Ellen?

  2. Comment by Annie:

    Such pretty feathers. The colours are those I always favour personally.

    I agree about listening to the wild … sadly I suspect that too many folks are incapable of being still enough to hear it.

    • Reply by Jennifer:

      The evolution of feather colours and patterns is fascinating, I wonder why we are drawn to certain colours?

  3. Comment by Roy Norris:

    Birds and animals are so much more intelligent than us I think Jennifer.
    They have to be as they don’t have the resources we have.

    • Reply by Jennifer:

      I’m enjoying watching, listening and learning about their intelligence Roy – very inspiring.

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