Robb and I were listening to a lecture on California native plants, at the Flyway Festival. We were sitting next to a bird rehabilitator's booth, which had all manner of dubious taxidermy on display. Up front was a Great Horned Owl (click here for some insane baby photos of this species) and in the back was a glassy-eyed Eagle Owl.
At one point, Robb leaned over to me and asked, "Do you like our owl?" (I love a man who can find the perfect moment to invoke Blade Runner.) I responded -- of course -- by asking if the owl was artificial.
And then I just about fell out of my chair when the owl, which I was so certain was dead and stuffed turned and looked me right in the eye.
I think the only thing that surprised me more than being fooled by the stillness of this beautiful predator was experiencing it spread out its ear tuft feather, and fluff up its chest, and hearing it hoot.
It was enchanting.