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Artemis, Evil Incarnate

Evil owl

Evil owl

I promised in my last owl post that I would tell you why Artemis is pure evil.

I feel like you deserve an explanation as to why I start twitching when I hear the sentence, “Oh, he’s SO cute!”

Let’s start with the dogs…

As I got him when he was just 3 weeks old, Artemis got to grow up around my parents’ huge, fluffy Samoyed dogs, Aika and Shika. That has had a few unfortunate side-effects, mostly that I now have an owl that barks at the neighbors.

But there’s something truly remarkable about seeing the love Shika has for this tiny feathery creature. And while Artemis is a ball of fury that hates almost everything, he won’t even flinch when a tongue bigger than he is darts from Shika’s mouth and licks him, covering him head-to-toe in dog spit.

You might think I’m describing an adorable friendship between two unlikely buddies.

You thought wrong.

Samoyed Dog and Owl

Aika and Shika are BIG dogs, each of their paws enough to crush Artemis with a single swipe. Yet these two fluff balls let this tiny owl TERRORIZE them without ever doing anything to defend themselves.

As I said, Shika adores Artemis. Aika is a bit more wary. That was shown very clearly one day when I was sitting on my parents’ couch, Aika beside me with his head in my lap, when Artemis descended and landed in Aika’s big, fluffy tail. Aika, unsure about how to react, started creeping closer to me, to move away from the owl.
The owl buried his talons in the fluff and just went along for the ride, all casual, even when poor Aika crawled all the way up in my lap to escape.

That’s just one example of all the times Artemis has landed on their heads, bit them on the nose, stolen food from their bowls, etc….

Doesn’t sound too bad? Let me tell you about how good he is at psychological warfare…

These days, I live all alone. Just me and my owl.

This means that there’s very quiet in my house when I’m not playing music and the TV’s not on. That sounds all well and good… until you factor in that my owl is evil.

He will wait until it’s been completely quiet for an hour or two and I have let down my guard. Then he will let out a single, ear-piercing squeak that will make me jump a foot in the air and nearly crap my pants.

He is no longer allowed in the room when I watch horror movies.

And then there’s the general abuse and controlling behavior…

A friend once described Artemis as an abusive boyfriend.

He will act like the perfect gentleman in public, never stepping a toe out of line. When we go out, he won’t make a sound (except maybe a cute little “Uh uuuh” that will melt every heart in a mile’s radius) and he won’t make a fuss at anything (except chihuahuas and furries, but really, who can account for that…?). Everyone is allowed to pet him and hold him. I once had a horde of 8 year old children nearly manhandling him all at once, and he didn’t even flinch.

Which is why now, when somebody asks if they can pet him, I simply tell them:

“Don’t worry. He only bites me.”

While nothing (again, disregarding chihuahuas and furries) fazes him outside of our home, EVERYTHING pisses him off at home. Not only will he throw temper tantrums on a regular basis, he’s also unhappy if he can’t keep an eye on what I’m doing. Which means that, unless I’m sitting on my couch near the cage, doing nothing unusual, he will hoot loudly and non-stop. Some days, I can’t even go to the bathroom without a symphony of complaints playing the entire time I’m in there.

I have taken to singing loudly when he does this and it freaks him out badly enough that he goes quiet for a while. I can play this game as well.

Burrowing Owl Skull

This behavior also applies for when I go to bed. If he hears me moving the slightest (and owls have freakishly good hearing) he will launch into a hooting-session that lasts 30+ minutes at a time. A friend spend the night on my couch ONCE and named him the “Nightmare Howler”.

And if you think this is normal owl behavior: You’re wrong. Owls are predators, not normally in the habit of disclosing their location at all times.

Artemis just didn’t get the memo.

I can deal with the hooting. But him throwing a temper tantrum, screaming until my ears are ringing, every time I use a feather duster is getting a little tiring. This bird is not afraid of dogs the size of small bears, but for some reason things like feather dusters and napkins are the end of the world.

He’s not too fond of Scully from X-Files, either, for some reason. But he likes watching Brooklyn Nine-Nine.

 

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Artemis the Owl FAQ

Angry owl blanket

 

“I’m not stealing the firewood. Promise.”

I have made a lot of promises to provide more owl content, so I thought I would start out with one big blog post answering the most common questions I get asked if I bring him with me to the local market or pet shop for a day out.

Get ready for Owl FAQ!

“Oh my god, it’s alive?!” 

Believe it or not, a startling number of people seems to believe I walk around with a tiny stuffed owl on my hand and I don’t think I will ever not enjoy seeing them jump when it suddenly turns its head 180 degrees to look at them.

Seriously, it’s the only socially acceptable way I get to scare the crap out of children.

…And yes, he IS alive. He’s just very good at staring contests.

This photo has not been edited. At all. 100% authentic evil.

“What species is he?” 

Also sometimes phrased as “Is it an eagle?” and I still haven’t figured out the logic there.

Artemis is a Burrowing Owl. In the wild, they often live on the prairie in holes in the ground that they will usually steal from prairie dogs. That also means that they have very long legs and short tails, because they spend as much time running as flying (and it’s my biggest regret that I don’t have footage of Artemis running, because it’s hilarious. Like a tiny, feathery Jack Sparrow).

He looks all fierce here, but 5 minutes after this photo was taken, I had to save him from an attacking blackbird.

“Is he fully grown?” 

Yes. This is really as big as he gets.

“How old is he?”

As of writing, Artemis is 6½ years old, having been born in the summer of 2012. I’m just going to answer the next question immediately and say that I’ve been told Burrowing Owls can get to be 15 years in captivity (at most).

He was just three weeks old when I got him and he lived in a cardboard box (a cardboard box that my big dogs were terrified of for a week) until he learned to jump out and I had to put him behind bars.

Bonus fact: Burrowing Owls can jump freakishly high, even before they learn to fly and you WILL end up checking they’re okay every 10 minutes during the night because you heard a crash and you’re convinced they’ve broken every bone in their body.

“What does he eat?” 

Mainly day-old chickens and mice.

Occasionally pepperoni.

“Where does he live?”

In my living room. He’s got a nice big cage where he can fly around and he also gets to fly around the living room when the doors and windows are closed (and I have moved everything I don’t want him crash-landing on).

“But it’s day-time. Isn’t he supposed to be sleeping?” 

Common misconception. While all owls have excellent night sight, and as such will hunt during the night most of the time, not all owls are nocturnal.

Burrowing Owls are diurnal, which you can tell by the yellow eyes. Nocturnal owls have pupils that fill the entire eye, meaning their eyes are completely black and look like portals into the Void.

However, as every friend who has crashed on my couch will attest to, no one told Artemis he is diurnal, because he will keep hooting at you all night if he knows you’re awake.

There’s not even a perch up there…

“How do you suddenly decide to get an owl?” 

A lifelong interest in falconry and a desire to one day become a falconer myself (Artemis is basically my ‘starter bird’) led me to knowing this falconer who one day made the mistake of mentioning that he bred owls and sold the chicks.

“Can you really just keep owls as pets?”

No.

In Denmark, you’re only allowed to keep non-native species that have been bred in captivity, and you need a keeper’s permit (which I have). I have also agreed that the Danish Nature Agency can come visit me at any time and check on the conditions. In some countries, you’re not allowed to keep owls in captivity at all.

Yes, tiny owls might look cute, but you should not even consider getting one if you don’t already know a lot about owls and birds of prey. I can’t say this enough.


I think that answers the most common questions people have. If not, write yours in the comments!

Next owl post will be about why this cute-looking little shuttlecock is really pure evil…

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Merry Christmas!

Christmas Owl wrapping paper

While I’m a bit of a Grinch, I’d still like to wish all of you out there a happy holiday!

It’s almost over for me – duck has been eaten, presents have been unwrapped, and a slightly intoxicated grandma has been taken home and put to bed – but before I go to bed, I thought I would post the traditional holiday-themed Artemis picture!

I wanted to have him pose in a mountain of wrapping paper, but it turns out that this owl is afraid of wrapping paper… This was all I could get once he was satisfied he had actually killed the first piece I pushed his way.

Christmas Owl wrapping paper

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KoyoCon 2015 – Owls at the Darkmoon Faire

Following my personal tradition, here’s the Post-Con Post!

(Also, remember to check out my Post Con Giveaway)

As I wrote some time ago, I had a busy weekend planned out at KoyoCon 2015. I was going to help host the Warcrafter Corner, be in Artist Alley, air out Artemis the Owl, host a few events and judge the Cosplay Catwalk competition.

The lovely, and slightly insane, Skymone decided that wasn’t enough, so I ended up joining the Cosplay Show together with her as well.

I’m fairly certain I have forgotten what “relaxing” feels like…

But I managed to do it all and I managed to do most of it well!

Together with my fellow Warcrafters, I recreated the Darkmoon Faire in the convention’s War Room and it ended up being a huge success. On top of showing off our cosplays and props as usual, we had also made real life versions of some of the mini games found in-game at World of Warcraft’s faire, such as Tonk Commander and Ring Toss (we didn’t shoot people out of a cannon, though. I’ll have to clear that with the organizers for next year).

As KoyoCon lies in the same weekend as BlizzCon, we had also made sure to get a virtual ticket and a projector, so we were able to live stream thoughout the con. How awesome was the movie trailer and the game cinematics?!

KoyoCon Cosplay Show 2015

Having decided on participating less than a week in advance, me and Skymone’s contribution to the Cosplay Show was Rushed, with a capital R, but we still managed to win the Best Craft category(for a second time in a row, thank you very much!).

And, of course, I won a crocheted owl… I’m going to start an army soon.

Speaking of owls…
Burrowing Owl Scarf

Never bring a tiny owl with you to Artist Alley. People won’t have time to stop cooing long enough to actually look at your books. And they won’t even care if he vomits up a pellet right there on the table.

I would like to stress that the ones who actually DID buy books got copies without owl poop on them.

Judging the Cosplay Catwalk went well, too. It felt a little weird judging others, many of whom had skills far superior to my own, but I must admit I enjoyed the VIP seating at the end of the catwalk stage!

The convention had a lot of great moments – like my fellow Warcrafter Steffan putting a self-balancing hoverboard under Skymone’s life-size cheetah-prop and using it as a mount – but we all know people only come here for the owls, so this will be it for now!

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Two Girls and an Owl

Owl Harry Potter

This Saturday brought along a lot of geekery. My costume-obsessed friend Simone had two Harry Potter-themed costumes lying around and I had an owl… Only logical conclusion was going to the park near Marselisborg(the Danish queen’s castle in Aarhus) and do a photoshoot!

Simone dressed up as Luna Lovegood, I as Hermione Granger, and my owl Artemis played the role of our mentally challenged post owl(you will understand later).

All pictures are taken by me or Skymone Cosplay.

Luna Lovegood Cosplay

I love Simone’s dreamy expression in this one. Totally Luna!

Luna Lovegood Cosplay

Owl Harry Potter

Owl Mail Post Service… Just not what it used to be.

Hermione Granger Cosplay OWl

A geek girl and her owl.

Hermione Granger Cosplay

More Photos