If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.

- George Washington

Monday 9 January 2012


A friend sent me a text message last night. Just the one word: Gnab.

I reckon that's bang out of order.

In other news, on my way home from work this morning, I almost head-butted an owl. He pulled another six inches of altitude just in time, and we missed. I'm glad he did, because he was quite big.


  1. Owls may have excellent hearing, but it only seems to be in a forward direction. Some years ago I was heading home after dark, when a Barn Owl suddenly flew out the hedgerow, and proceeded down the middle of the road at (car) rooftop height. It was completely oblivious to my presence, despite being illuminated by the headlights, and I had to brake pretty sharpish. I followed it for several hundred yards, until it equally suddenly dived into some woods.

  2. Apparently owls are incredibly stupid birds as most of their brain is devoted to vision.

    Seems like you have encountered a particularly stupid example, or do you have a rat motif painted on your lid?

  3. I have hit birds when on the bike. Apart from the the shock, even a pigeon is surprisingly heavy when you hit it.

  4. I've been lucky to never hit a bird on the bike but have hit an owl on the freeway while in the car. He was rising off the freeway wings out and wasn't quick enough. I can see how they would do some damage when on two wheels.

  5. On reflection, I have often seen owls (Barn variety usually) come out of a field and glide across the road in front of me. Perhaps it's a game of 'chicken'.

    This one came out of a hedge at head height and turned directly towards me, perhaps 5m away. We stared at each other for a bit, and then he rose a little and passed over my head.

    I'm glad I didn't hit him. I was only doing about 30 as I was slowing for a turning, but I reckon it's the mass x velocity thing again. I once hit a linnet at 60 and it nearly knocked me out, so an owl at half that speed could have been awkward. (It was a linnet, because I went back and looked. Lovely little thing, but very dead. It felt as though someone had hit my head with a cricket bat.)

  6. OK, some maths ...

    I am introducing a new unit of kinetic energy, known as the gram per mileanhour.

    Linnet 20g x 60 mph = 1200 g/mph
    Barn Owl 470g x 30 mph = 14,100 g/mph.

    Last night, I escaped almost 12 cricket bats. (That's another new unit.) On reflection, that would have hurt. It didn't seem all that dramatic at the time, but the numbers don't lie.

    A friend hit a pheasant with his Busa. Knowing his riding style and with a male pheasant weighting in at about 1200g, that would be around 144,000 g/mph. It wrecked the fairing and he was cleaning bits of pheasant out of the suspension a month later. 120 cricket bats.


  7. Surely it should be E=M(C^2)?

    So, the Linnet gives 72000 against 423000 for the Barn Owl.

    It's still nearly six cricket bats, though!

    The nearest event I had was catching a rising pheasant in the NS indicator of a Mk2 Sierra. At motorway speeds, it was enough to fold the indicator back and ruin the wing. Didn't do the bird much good, either.

  8. Is the texter rather backward?

    And I suspect delinquent owls: 'Watch me scare the budoobies out of that confident looking bloke on the bike' he he he

    I have done same to Winniebagos (Winniebagoes?) from a light aircraft in very rural North America. I can see where the owl was coming from as my kids would say.

    1. I don't think you'd get away with that over here. Try buzzing a camper van anywhere in the UK and the CAA would be waiting for you when you landed. That is if you hadn't already collided with a motorway bridge, power lines or wind turbine...

  9. Delinquent owls ... hmmm ... This Is Pembrokeshire, so anything is possible.

    I like the idea of buzzing things from a light aircraft. I suspect the word you are after is Winnebagi.


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