In the moonlight, high in the Lemon Gum,
perched under the arching ghostly branches,
two eyes of jet peer from a snow-white mask.
Tyto Alba, the Barn Owl, with heart shaped
facial disc, edged with ruff of stiff feathers.
Mottled pearl-grey body feathers above
the moth like plumage, purest white beneath;
her slim legs are bare on the lower half,
with small feet that end with deadly talons.
Nocturnal, she roosts in the heat of day.
You will hear her screeching in the cold night,
hear the scream before you ever see her.
She can see in the half light of humans,
night vision even in total darkness;
pinpoints her prey by listening to each sound
the desperate, scuttling little creatures make.
She is a well designed killing machine
with hooked beak, powerful feet and sharp claws.
Her flight feathers have softened edges
to make her deadly flight near soundless
She swoops silently down without warning,
seizing victims with her claws, biting deep
into their neck arteries, puncturing
their most precious organs for a quick death.