Last Saturday, in the midst of a rainstorm, this superb owl dropped into our backyard while being attacked by a murder of crows.
I don't know much about owls, but apparently this is a thing that happens if a nocturnal owl makes the mistake of coming out in the middle of the day. The crows can gang up, dive-bomb, peck, pester, and eventually kill it – unless the owl finds a place to hide until night falls.
We moved into this apartment two years ago, during the first Covid summer. The backyard was a big reason why. A few weeks after we moved in, we cleared the garden and built a fort for Emma to play in. Two years later, this owl found shelter in that fort. Every fifteen minutes, the crows would return to sit on the power lines above the fort, and they'd taunt the owl with their CAW-CAW-CAWing. We'd hear them, and I'd step out to chase them off. I like to think that the owl knew that we were on its side, and that that's why it let me get so close and take these photos.
The timing of this visit was weird.
Twilio's mascot is an owl – a homage to the "How to Draw an Owl" meme. I had just returned from a Twilio trip to San Francisco. It was the first time my team had been together in 2.5 years. Twilio, like most tech companies, has had a rough 2022. Our stock is down 75% from our all-time high, and we've gone through a lot of attrition and leadership changes. Yet, after spending a week back at HQ with my team, I returned to Brooklyn feeling more optimistic about Twilio's future than I have since 2019.
That's the emotional state I was in as I sat at our kitchen table on a rainy Saturday afternoon while editing headshots of coworkers on my iPad. And then, this gorgeous creature dropped into our backyard, seeking temporary refuge from elements and opponents.
This superb owl is my Twilio 2022 spirit animal. Sure, it's a little beat up, but look at those fucking claws.