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Whistling for owls: Magnus


Whistle for an owl? I wouldn’t have believed it could happen until I visited Roger Philby in Orkney. Roger is a master silver designer and craftsman on Mainland, Orkney I visited his studio Fluke Jewelry one day and noticed a beautiful painting of an owl by Tim Wootton whom you can find in Stromness. Roger and I talked at length about our common love of owls and the wonderful short-eared owl found on Orkney. We agreed that this creature was exceptionally curious and friendly and would appear at the most amazing moments. Roger then offered to prove to me how special these creatures are. We stepped outside of his studio and Roger in good ole Lauren Bacall style put his lips together and gave a great whistle. In just a few moments a beautiful short-eared owl came swooping out of the sky and landed on a fencepost nearby. I was speechless. He assured me that this was not at “fluke”.


Even on my first trip to Orkney the short-eared owl, like the great owl Magnus in ANDY FROM ORKNEY; A New Someone on Hoy made his presence known to me. It was the first amazing creature who flew out of the fog toward me after landing on St. Margret’s Hope on the ferry from John O’Groats. After that I saw owls regularly on Hoy. One morning on a walk past a foggy field in South Walls another owl swooped out of the fog and circled me for several moments. Perhaps he was sizing me up for lunch. I think it was natural for Magnus to become a central character of the Andy series and we will see more of him. To learn more about these wonderful creatures check out these websites and‎.

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