The owl and the cop

February 9, 2021 • 2:30 pm

Note: If you can’t see the video in your country, email me and I’ll email you a 4MB video that Peter found and sent me.


Reader Peter sent me this really lovely video of a cop investigating an “incident” who comes across two women doing research on owls. Since this is in Montana, I conclude that this is more likely to be a saw-whet owl than a pygmy owl.

At any rate, when I see the graffiti on local walls that read “ACAB”, standing for “all cops are bastards”, I think of guys like this. Yes, there are some rotten apples in the police—probably too many, given the attraction of the job to authoritarian personalities, but I’ve met plenty of decent cops in my time. No, #NotAllCops!

This is one of the good ones.  All he wants to do is hold the owl and pet it.

23 thoughts on “The owl and the cop

  1. #NotAllCops! I agree, Professor. Throughout the course of my twenty-five years as a public library administrator, I’ve worked closely with my local police departments. We considered ourselves partners in serving the public, ran joint programs, and helped each other out when needed. I’ve been fortunate to know many cops, including three of my cousins, all of whom were/are decent people.

  2. I don’t know whether this will help those having trouble viewing this video, but I find it necessary to click on the blue, top, line — in this case — “The owl and the cop”. That takes me out of email and to the professor’s web site, where the video is immediately accessible to a garden-variety Curtains 7 machine. No VPN, no “other” sources, needed.

    I have to go the same route for any images, still or animated. It wasn’t always this way. Images used to appear immediately in the email feed, but haven’t for perhaps 2 months now.

    The techno types will understand what happened here; I don’t, but offer this simple cure for those it may help.

  3. Yes, it is a Northern Saw-whet Owl. I am a bird bander, and have been banding these owls since 2003. Worked with partners until 2011. On my own since then. This past season, October-December, was my best ever operating my own station in eastern Vinton County, OH. Banded 93 Saw-whets, and had 2 “foreign recaptures”, meaning owls banded by other researchers. Often, more than 50% of the time actually, they are truly “foreign”, in that they had been banded in Ontario. And, of course, sometimes Saw-whets I band are recaptured by other researchers. It’s how we learn about things like movement patterns and longevity in the wild. They are really denizens of the boreal forest as breeding birds, only get down here in late Fall and winter. A few overwinter here, in fact I will be trying to see if I can catch any tonight! I do it at 10 night intervals now, every night I can during the Oct.-Dec. season.

    The women in the video are working with a fellow named Denver Holt, and his Owl Research Institute in Charlo, MT. I have met him a few times, he is one of the most accomplished owl researchers in the world.

  4. Since the topic has been broached, yes, there are plenty of good cops, but the problem is that bad cops get protected, even by the good cops. This is mostly peer pressure, for to turn in or testify against a fellow cop often results in getting ostracized and losing one’s job, and the unions vigorously defend even the worst cops. That’s the problem.

    1. Several of my neighbors are in law enforcement. When I stop at the mailboxes to get my mail, I often run into them. Some of these people have “blue lives matter” bumper stickers, which seems to imply they do not want to confront the problem of police violence. A handful of our local police and fire officers have been called out for social media messages that you all may consider free speech, but most of us see as threats — graphic descriptions of violence they feel entitled to visit on women, minority groups, or specific individual members of those groups. When these messages are brought to public attention, officers are defended by the leadership of police, sheriff, fire departments, and city councils and county commissions. No corrective action is ever taken. I know that efforts to defund police are not popular on this site, however one of the above officers is paid more than $250,000 in salary and benefits, according to newspaper articles. Pardon me for thinking that 1/4 million could be put to better use.

      Calling cops pigs won’t solve our problems, but neither will feel-good-ism.

      1. I don’t think I or anybody else on this site is espousing “feel-goodism”. I’ve already said that there are stop-and-search data indicating a problem of racism among police. And nobody is saying “all cops are good.”

  5. ACAB doesn’t refer to cops’ personal likeability or niceness, it’s a statement that all cops will violently enforce any laws they are told to even if those laws are absolutely objectionable. And that is, by definition, something _all_ cops do. Making it about their personal likeability is as badly missing the point as saying #NotAllConcentrationCampGuards because plenty of concentration camp guards were personally quite likeable and nice people.

    1. Sorry, but “bastards” implies both behavior and personality. And the claim that “all cops will violently enforce any laws they are told to” is simply wrong. “Violently”. Often they have a choice about whether to be violent and don’t exercise that choice. So the statement ACAB is wrong on both counts. And, as I implied, there’s a correlation between a cop’s personality in person and his authoritarianism in a confrontation.

      You’re simply dead wrong about what “something all cops do.” Jebus.

    2. No. All cops are extensively and continually trained in the necessary application of force, appropriate to the given situation. Do they sometimes make mistakes? Of course they do. Do they sometimes overreact when interacting with people who are potentially violent, or simply as rude as you? It can happen. And laws are made by politicians, who are elected. So if you don’t like them, get busy.

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