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George Bowie and the big bird

In this edition of Remember This? The Timmins Museum National Exhibition Center examines what happens when a rather imposing bird takes the initiative and comes to you
If you were a crew member at The Hollinger in the early 50’s you’d probably see this striking pair walking around the timber yard together. Perched on Bowie’s shoulder this beautiful bird of prey would flash her impressive 4 foot 8 inch wingspan to everyone’s delight (especially the Hollinger Miner Photographer on assignment this day)

From the Timmins Museum: National Exhibition Centre:

Spend any amount of time out near a feeder in Northern Ontario and you’ll be rewarded by visiting species like nuthatches, the ubiquitous and always welcome chickadee or perhaps a cedar waxwing or two (if you’re very unlucky a black bear might be helping itself to your offerings instead of cute little birds)

In any case, there are many opportunities for bird watchers to do their thing both in and outside city limits.

This story comes to us from the brilliant Hollinger Miner Magazine Archive once again, the cover of its April 1954 edition features a remarkable photo of George Bowie, and his fine feathered friend, a juvenile female snowy owl with a penchant for human food (spareribs were a personal favourite of hers)

Sightings of snowy owls are uncommon enough as it is, so imagine Timber Yard employee George Bowie’s amazement when one just casually began hanging out on-site, tempted by the incidental presence of a rabbit carcass nearby.

The bird and Bowie eventually gained each other’s trust, the owl became so at ease with the crew she began to let herself into the timber framing shed and was eventually hand tamed by Bowie.

Even though man and beast obviously shared a special bond in this case, please do not try to hand tame birds of prey yourself, no matter how cool it looks!

Each week, the Timmins Museum: National Exhibition Centre provides TimminsToday readers with a glimpse of the city’s past.

Find out more of what the Timmins Museum has to offer at and look for more Remember This? columns here.