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'You don’t expect an owl to come down your chimney': Victoria woman inspired to paint by unlikely visitor


When Beth Doman arrived home that night, she was greeted by a peculiar sound coming from her fireplace.

“Ch-ch-ch-ch-ch,” she imitates the sound and points up the chimney. “And just a little bit of soot coming down here.”

Beth wondered if it was a rodent and approached the fireplace to investigate.

“Then all of a sudden this explosion of feathers came into the fireplace!” Beth says.

She thought it was a hawk at first, before the bird flew over the fireplace grate and into her living room.

“It sat on my couch and stared at me,” Beth laughs.

It was an owl.

By the time Beth could grab her phone to capture the uninvited guest on camera, the bird had flown to her front entrance and perched on her hanging coats.

“You don’t expect an owl to come down your chimney,” Beth says. “So I was a bit in shock for a minute.”

Which was followed by worry for the bird’s well-being.

“It’s OK,” Beth says while filming the owl with one hand and opening her front door with the other. “I’m going to let you outside.”

Then the video shows the owl erupting with a flurry of feathers from the floor back to the hanging coats.

“Oh my god!” Beth screams, before reassuring the owl and gesturing to the open door. “It’s OK, sweetie. There you go.”

But the owl wouldn’t leave.

“I named him Barry,” Beth smiles. “Barry the barred owl.”

After another 20 minutes, Barry bolted — seemingly uninjured — beyond Beth’s front door and back to the wild.

When I told all my friends, they were asking if I got my Hogwarts letter,” Beth smiles. “I didn’t get a letter!”

In lieu of a handwritten letter inviting her to enroll in Harry Potter’s school of witchcraft and wizardry, Beth decided to express her thoughts and feelings about Barry by putting paint to paper.

“Owls have a lot of meaning in different cultures,” Beth says. “Sometimes they can be harbingers of doom, other times they’re a blessing.”

Perhaps because she’d been painting watercolours of birds for years, Beth says Barry’s visit very much felt like a blessing.

“I feel really special that he chose my chimney to fall down,” Beth smiles. “And I got to have such a close experience with a wild animal.”

Beth also got to illustrate how this story ends, by painting a portrait of Barry perched happily on a branch in the wild. You can see the owl looking over his shoulder having delivered not post to Potter, but magical inspiration nonetheless. Top Stories

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