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By Jon Hammond
Land of Four Seasons 

Smacked by an unexpected predator

Mountain Tales: First-hand stories of life in Tehachapi


December 21, 2019

Jon Hammond

Barn Owl.

I was up on a hilltop overlooking Hart Flat, cleaning up some branches and deadwood for firewood. It got dark and I could hear some coyotes calling, so I turned my headlights out and started making predator calls, making kind of a squeaking, whistling sound with my lips to see if I could call in any coyotes to investigate the sound. I had my flashlight out, and I held it close to my chest. I saw a barn owl take off and head towards a bald mountain ridge. I stood there and kept making that sound with my lips, over and over and over, waiting for a coyote. All of a sudden something smacked me from behind – that owl hit the back of my head with his talons. Startled the c--p out of me! Owls have silent flight and I had no warning, I was NOT expecting it. . .whoa. It freaked me out for a minute. The owl kept flying and I stopped predator calling.

– Eric Williams


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