Great Horned Owl in Alberta – If My Aumakua was an Owl

Many cultures believe that if an animal makes an appearance (physically or symbolically) in an unusual way or repeatedly in a short span of time, then that animal is the spirit of a deceased relative. This spirit is attempting to guide you, protect you or get a message to you. The Hawaiians call this spirit your Aumakua.

If I believed in the aumakua, or any of the many other gods, goddesses, demigods, saints, divine forces, deities, and spirits that inhabit mankind’s mind, then my aumakua would be the Owl.

We frequently hear the hoots of the Great Horned Owl, and we often see it – though seldom very close.  Last week, however, in the midst of a string of bitterly cold days, Owl took refuge on a sunny branch of a big spruce tree by the garage.


The Car Guy spotted the owl as we were getting ready to drive to town. Owl was not particularly concerned by our comings and goings as we packed up the car. It wasn’t even bothered when the Jeep was backed out and was within twenty feet of the tree. Then, silently, it flew off ahead of us down the driveway.

Although this was an awesome event, I don’t believe that Owl appeared in my yard with a message from my ancestors. Owl was just there looking for a sunny, windless spot to perch on a very cold day…and perhaps hoping we would throw another dead mouse out onto the snowbank nearby.

Thanks to A.A. Milne, though, it isn’t hard to imagine what an owl might say!

When we asked Pooh what the opposite of an Introduction was, he said “The what of a what?” which didn’t help us as much as we had hoped, but luckily Owl kept his head and told us that the Opposite of an Introduction, my dear Pooh, was a Contradiction; and, as he is very good at long words, I am sure that that’s what it is.
– The House at Pooh Corner, A.A. Milne –

The Feather Files
Name: Great Horned Owl
Species: Bubo virginianus
Native to and Migration: Found all across North America up to the northern tree line; no regular migration – individuals may wander long distances in fall and winter, sometimes moving southward.
Date Seen: February, 2014
Location: North of Calgary, Alberta, Canada

17 thoughts on “Great Horned Owl in Alberta – If My Aumakua was an Owl

  1. Margie, you take such beautiful photos. We lost a family member this week and it’s been a time of remembrance and introspection. For some reason, your post hit the spot.


    1. They are remarkable birds, aren’t they! I’m very glad I have a camera with a good zoom lens and excellent image stabilization. I was about 60 feet away from the owl when I took the picture.


  2. This is an absolutely charming post and I love every single bit of it from the superb photo to the superb writing. And the quote at the end fits perfectly too, and left me with smiles.


  3. Man, what a superb photo– talk about suspense and atmosphere! Regrettably, I’ve only seen a few owls in my life– and some of those have been on Wise Potato Chip bags… : P

    Great shot, Margie, enjoyed the A.A. Milne, too– nice touch! : )


  4. That is one awesome owl photo. There was same type of owl perched in a tree, by a heavily used bike-ped path in downtown Calgary. Wish I had my camera..but it was twilight.

    What a treat to have this creature hang around your place for a short while, Marg.


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