Life can place you in the most random situations you never thought you’d experience. With that one magical change, things that are usually normal become extraordinary. It could happen on your walk from home or even in your very own backyard. Sometimes, those unbelievable moments involve animals. For instance, you encounter a white stag during your hike. It’ll suddenly change your view about hiking as you’ll look forward to meeting the stag again or seeing other rare creatures. Before it was a form of exercise and stress reliever for you, then it turns into a remarkable sight you want to experience again. You’ll realize how majestic life really is and how those experiences widen your world.
As for Jos Baart, it was his apartment window that changed due to an out-of-the-ordinary situation. From a view of plants and next-door buildings, the scenery shifted to three giant Eurasian Eagle-owl babies. They chose his planter as a nest and became a spectator of his daily life. Jos mentioned that it was annoying at first, but he grew fond of them. They were his favorite neighbors on the third floor of the high-rise apartment building. The three feathered siblings accompanied him from the window — watching the television together.
Jos learned of the situation after he heard bird noises from his window. He didn’t like it, because he thought the planter was occupied by pigeons. Since it did not catch his interest, he ignored the noises and went to work. A week after hearing bird calls, Jos decided to take a look, and there he met his giant, fluffy friends. The mom was also present that day, but she flew away after Jos appeared. She was the one making the bird noises as if actually calling Jos’s attention. “For me, it was like watching a movie twenty-four seven. When you wake up in the morning and they are right there in front of the window. That is just extraordinary,” Jos shared.
Although they have a window glass between them, he still gets to interact with the giant babies. He talked to them, greeted them every day, and saw the mother visit from time to time. Jos would also prop himself on a pillow where he kneels every time he wants to talk with his feathered friends. The giant owls would just sit and stare back like they can understand every word Jos says. They have also created a routine for whenever the television is on. Two or all three of them would line up by the glass window and watch over his shoulder.
The baby owls will surely learn to fly one day, and Jos is already prepared to have an empty nest. He only hopes the three would visit his apartment window so they can greet each other once again. Being friends with Europe’s biggest owl is truly an unforgettable life story. Watch the video below to see the living arrangements of a man and the three giant baby owls.
I am broadly interested in how human activities influence the ability of wildlife to persist in the modified environments that we create.
Specifically, my research investigates how the configuration and composition of landscapes influence the movement and population dynamics of forest birds. Both natural and human-derived fragmenting of habitat can influence where birds settle, how they access the resources they need to survive and reproduce, and these factors in turn affect population demographics. Most recently, I have been studying the ability of individuals to move through and utilize forested areas which have been modified through timber harvest as they seek out resources for the breeding and postfledging phases. As well I am working in collaboration with Parks Canada scientists to examine in the influence of high density moose populations on forest bird communities in Gros Morne National Park. Many of my projects are conducted in collaboration or consultation with representatives of industry and government agencies, seeking to improve the management and sustainability of natural resource extraction.