Saw-Whet Owl next to GTS Chapel. Photo: Anne B. Keating, Chief Technology Officer

A Northern Saw-Whet owl is keeping watch next to the Chapel of the Good Shepherd at General Seminary.

The owl was first noticed by M.Div. senior John Allison on the morning of December 5, and word of the owl’s presence quickly spread throughout the seminary community. Is the owl there to inspire community members to keep Advent watch at night? In Ancient Greece, owls were associated with Athena, the “bright-eyed” goddess of wisdom, and even today are upheld for wisdom and erudition. Has the owl come to inspire students as they write final papers and exams?

The community is both delighted the owl is visiting and also seeking to make sure the owl is safe and healthy. Allison called the Wild Bird Fund, a New York City organization that specializes in wild bird rehabilitation, which counseled that now is the time for the owl’s migration. The Wild Bird Fund is already caring for another Northern Saw-Whet owl and suggested bringing in, too, the visitor to the Close.¬†Allison and M.Div. junior Kat Killian attempted to catch the owl, which simply flew to a higher branch to stay out of reach. “She looks healthy, and the fact that she can fly, at least for the observed short distance, is reassuring,” Allison said. “Perhaps she is simply blessing us with her presence.”

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