The project started with a visit to each of our community groups – St Luke’s Community Centre, Chiswick House and Latimer Gardens, all in Attwood Green – from real live owls from Hagley Falconry Centre. It was amazing to see these magnificent birds flying around human spaces and returning to their handler for little meaty treats.
Next we set to work, gathering ideas, poems and stories, and making little cardboard owls which perched in the trees outdoors. People brought in drawings, ornaments, earrings and all sorts of other owl-themed objects to contribute to the project. We wrote reminiscences and responses about owls on paper feathers, which would go on to feather up our owlet.
Mandy shared poems including The Owl and the Pussycat and other owly poems, while Pyn told owl stories from all around the world – every culture seems to have its own varieties. Then we wrote our own new story, taking inspiration from Til Eulenspiegel and Welsh folktales, and made an audio recording of the story.
We also took the project out on the road on The Birds’ Wedding Day to St Augustine’s Church, Edgbaston, where we gathered more owl memories and stories.
Finally, we feathered up our owlet with over 200 written feathers. During the Big Hoot, summer 2015, our owlet stood proudly in the BBC Mailbox. Then she flew home to roost at St Lukes in the autumn, and since then she’s been spending time at Chiswick House and Latimer Gardens.