Moonlight - Salish Current
November 22, 2022
Tony Angell

The great horned owl (presented in oil by Tony Angell) helps sustain ecological balance—and inspires mythic lore around the world. (Courtesy image Tony Angell ©)

November 22, 2022
Tony Angell


While exploring a local Cascade forest one night in early spring, I could hear a pair of great horned owls exchanging calls back and forth through the woods. Like any curious naturalist, I headed in their direction to investigate the conversation. A minute’s walk into the moonlight-filled evening and there was one of the owls fully illuminated before me. The bird was perched on an exposed limb from where it had likely been engaged in a discussion over territorial boundaries with his neighbor. Whatever the intent, his image was a powerful one. The boldness and beauty of the owl’s attitude and form were the driving sources for this oil painting which commemorates the moment.

Owls occupy and enliven habitats worldwide at hours and in places we know little of. This species, among the largest of our North American owls, can be heard and sometimes seen in the dense woods bordering the Salish Sea. Their mystery is seductive. Their role in sustaining the delicate ecological fabric of our natural heritage here is significant and still being determined. At the same time, few other species have generated such vast and inspiring mythic lore among human cultures around the world. Owl calls are an invitation to investigate and further contemplate nature. Discoveries await.

—Contributed by Tony Angell

The House of Owls” by Tony Angell (Yale University Press, 2015) won the National Outdoor Book Award for that year in the Environmental Category.

For Artist’s Corner, Salish Current welcomes readers to share images that capture the spirit of our natural and built environments, including the creatures and people who live here. Submittals must be works in your possession and not promotional. Please contact Salish Current Managing Editor Mike Sato ( to let us know what you’d like to share and why.

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