You make me want to dance: Owlets

I have a sneaking suspicion that birds dance more than we may assume. Especially when they think that nobody else is around. I may have seen Owlets in action, without their knowledge. I can’t be sure. They may have just been belligerent about being spotted. Perhaps they had food poisoning. I am not an ornithologist. Or a reasonable person.

Besides, I don’t know anything about dancing. My left foot thinks for itself. We haven’t been on the same page for a decade. The right one has been fractured multiple times. Since 2012, it has suffered three hairline fractures, a shattered ankle, and two broken toes. But it’s no excuse. I have always danced with the grace of a rubber chicken impaled on the horn of an angry rhino.

Jungle Owlet, Thekkady

As a teenager, I knew that I couldn’t dance. I didn’t want to admit it. Because I couldn’t sing or play the guitar either. Back then, I thought it meant that no girl would go out with me. But I had my friends, relatives, and colleagues fooled for a long time. I hid my terrible moves during weddings, birthday parties, and other drunken stupors.

All I did was poorly mimic John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever. And clumsily borrow from Carlos Douglas, the kung-fu fighting pop star and a childhood favorite  – the super-intense Anand Babu.

I hadn’t seen the humor in it when I first stumbled upon the routine. I made a dash to the dance-floor and pointed one of my forefingers to the ceiling and the other – down to the ground. I shuffled them back and forth. And I threw laid-back bicycle kicks, to mix things up.

I was surprised when everyone assumed it was a slapstick tribute to the disco culture of the Eighties. I heard them giggle and whisper, “He’s funny, that guy”.

I had a good run. Only a few years ago, at an office party, had I come undone. Someone loudly remarked about how they had seen me do this before on a couple of occasions. I wanted to slink away, while lying low, in embarrassment. Like a vampire, cowering under his cape, while exposed to the light. To all the lies.

Just like that, the facade was over. The dream was dead.

Since then, Mr. Bean has been helping me out. His dance moves are so much easier to mimic. People seem to think it is a funny act. I am confident about keeping it together for 10 more years.

After that, I am going to have to rely on Spotted Owlets and Jungle Owlets to teach me a thing or two about gyrating my hips, and swinging my limbs with some degree of panache. They cavort, to the jostling of leaves and the caressing of the wind, like angry dancers on an acid trip.

It seems that they care not a hoot about choreography. Only that they feel their souls jiggle, happily and generously.

Spotted Owlet, Chennai

only the

(Photographs: Vedanthangal)

45 thoughts on “You make me want to dance: Owlets

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  1. 😀 you know it feels as if that owl is thinking…why is that guy stalking me…really here he is again..let turn away from him, den he will go away maybe 😀 very funny pics..

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Hahaha no no comrade my only chance at Youtube fame died ingloriously with grumpy cat. I could have been grumpy kitty but nooooo a real cat, with no understanding of popularity, had to get that gimmick.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Woaw, now there’s an idea. I could even call it ‘cat-man-do the boogie’. If I make it big, I promise you at least a half of the first million. Use it wisely, comrade. Pssst invest in evil kitty incorporated.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Great post! I watched the top two dancers in your list. Extraordinary. Your own adaptation to your mis-cast right leg are creative and hilarious! I’ve seen birds dancing in my back yard. A male hummingbird doing the lightening-fast soar followed by a death dive in which he moves to catch the sun so his colors flash as he descends–all in an effort to impress the female watching and judging his moves and his colors. And then my everyday favorite–a Carolina wren sitting on our porch rail singing his heart out while bobbing quickly from right to left–female and nest located underneath the porch deck!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I share your admiration for people who dance well. I also watch Olympic figure skaters with the same fascination, almost disbelief, that people can actually do that! You’re probably too young to have eagerly awaited the circus coming to town – but the trapeze artists and acrobats too had me wonderstruck as a child.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am old enough to remember the trouble we stirred up when our parents didn’t share our enthusiasm that either Gemini or Jumbo circus was in town. The acrobats and clowns were my favorite parts as the animals looked obviously depressed.
      But yes, it is incredible how some people can move!


  4. Oh my gosh! That opener photo is just delightful! I love his little eyes. You remind me that I need more owls on my list; only have the one so far, the one who likes to scare us while camping out back. As for dancing, I learned formally and am these days guilty of (trying) to embarrass my children at gatherings doing dub-step or other current hip-hop moves. I really suck at it, but have a lot of fun. I do hope that is the whole point of it.

    Those birds of paradise are amazing, aren’t they?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, I d love to look at those owls through your eyes too. What sort do you have up there? And dub step, my my, stop or my mom will shoot you indeed (apologies for awful 90s movie reference). Those birds put me in paradise is what they do. I doubt though if I can bear the experience without crumbling like a winsome waif. There is such a thing as too much beauty, in my humble opinion.


      1. The Barred Owl roams our woods at night. It’s the ‘sound’ of the Barred Owl that is most amazing — there is a recording of it mid-post here ( We also have the Great-horned Owl and the smaller Screech Owl, but have not seen either this year. Soon I hope!!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Christy, I don’t know where to start… you’ve entertained me with owls, a strangely dancing angryish young man (in my youth, that was called ‘idiot-dancing’ and I did a lot of it. Didn’t need any judges to enjoy myself either!), the incredible and also very funny birds of paradise, and more. And you’ve thrown in your footy-problems and your own dancing… Well, if that was where I started, I’d better end. I’m still smiling.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much Val, I am glad you found it entertaining. Idiot dancing sounds like a genre I’d excel in. Does it count that kids laugh at me when I do? I hope so.

      (Have a smiling sort of day, dear friend)

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I will probably look for moves the next time I see an owl.I am glad you found out one that is exuberant and performed for it’s visitor. As usual your writing lights up the world of birds.I am sad they cannot read your writings!! but am happy that they are the protagonists in every story.
    Keep Rocking!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hehe please do, Sirius. I am sure you’d be as enthralled as I was.

      I’d feel incredibly guilty if the birds ever found out that I am writing about myself through them or vice-versa (I am still unsure). But that’s such a beautiful thought process. Thank you so much!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I can’t decide which is more fascinating, your beautiful photographs or your accounts of yourself. I giggled through the whole post. A piece of advice if I may, from now on, dance like no one is watching. It’s not about the how or how well, it’s about self expression…feeling. Feel good.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Elaine! Lots of soup for you – V, for the Seinfeld reference. I can’t say I am any better without a few glasses of wine or a couple of beers in me. Something about inhibitions that makes me unwatchable hehe.


  8. those owlets are real cutie pies!! I wonder how you managed to click those varied expressions/looks ….. they seem certainly a lot tolerant and understanding…chances are more that you may get your lessons without sweating 🙂 Loved this post…. smiling, laughing and giggling all the way ….and the ending verse just loved it more!

    Liked by 1 person

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