Saturday, February 02, 2019

Huge Owl Encountered in East Berlin, Connecticut


I recently found the following account:

This happened roughly around the year 2006. I was around 9 years old and I think I was in 3rd grade. (I'm not good with dates/times.) I was in Richard D. Hubbard Elementary School, located in East Berlin, CT. Every recess, my two female friends and I would venture past the playground into the field. We would stick around the edge of the field, along a fence that borders some woods and a pond. We were not allowed to go past the second light pole, so we would linger around that pole, talking, playing, looking at the woods and pond.

One day, it was either late spring or summer because the canopy was green and the temperature was mild, we were walking out to the pole as usual. I was absorbed in conversation, but before we got to the second pole, my friend said, 'Oh, look at that bird!' As I scanned the woods, my other friend spotted it before me and was saying something like, 'Wow! It's huge!' Finally, I noticed it, and it WAS huge. It was perched on a very thick Sycamore tree limb and its talons nearly wrapped completely around the limb's circumference. It was so big, in fact, that it looked like someone cut it out and pasted it on a background that was too small. I immediately looked for its eyes. This is the first thing I always do when I encounter an animal. Any bragging aside, I'm a very good animal whisperer, if you will, and initial eye contact is very important for me to connect with any animal. But I could not find this thing's eyes because they were evidently concealed by a face-full of down or very fluffy, small feathers. I assumed it was molting season and it was losing its winter plumage because it seemed to be too large to be a baby bird of any kind. Its head was just like that of an owl's - rounded, with an indented 'v' on its forehead. I don't remember the exact colors, but it was mottled with typical bird-of-prey colors, not one solid color.

I had only been looking at this bird for maybe two seconds when there was a loud snap and the limb it was resting on fell off the tree. I don't know if the bird had shifted its weight when we spotted it, or if this was just coincidence. Well, when the limb came crashing down, all I saw was a blur as this bird struggled to stay airborne. I think one or both of my friends may have screamed, but I was just taking this all in. After that very brief blur of flapping, it flew (mostly glided) directly toward us. That's when my friends took off running but I stayed watching it. I was not scared at all, just intrigued. I instinctively knew this bird was not in attack mode, but it was annoyed that we had disturbed it. But as my friends kept running, one of them was desperately calling out my name and the other was anxiously shrieking because I had not moved. And as I watched it fly toward me, its yellow talons were outstretched as if to pounce. It really looked as if it was not going to stop. So I pulled away from my instincts and ran toward my friends, looking over my shoulder as I did. I distinctly remember the chill in the air as its huge shadow fell upon me. But at the last second, it pulled its talons in and swerved back up over the treeline, and it was gone, just like that.

Now, while I was intrigued and grateful for having experienced this, I didn't think there was anything unusual about this. It was years later that I found out this couldn't have been any known species, as it was much too big, even to be an abnormally large specimen of a known species. The wingspan was at least 10 feet, probably around 12 feet. Its height was harder to ascertain because I didn't have a good reference point when it was perched up in the tree, but I would say it was between 3 and 4 feet tall. If I had known this was not a known species, I would have kept a tighter hold on the memory. Another detail I remember is that I think I saw the center (not the tip) of its beak, amid all that fluff. If it was indeed the beak, then it had a yellow, owl-like beak. Now, for a while I thought there must be a great forest behind that fence if there was such a big bird living there. But it turns out that it takes one minute to walk from the fence to some condominiums on the other side. I then tried to find the limb that fell and see if there were scratch marks on it, but I knew it would do little to prove anything. Discouraged, I went on Google Maps to find out what was in the direction it flew off to. I quickly found a place called Owl's Lair Cliff in Ragged Mountain State Park, which is in the exact direction it was heading. I was excited but also realized that it has been so long and it probably never lived around here anyway because I doubt there would be enough food to sustain it. I've never heard any similar reports in CT, either. - WW

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Silver State Monsters: Cryptids & Legends of Nevada

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