Min Min Lights - A Barn Owl?!

To: "Birding-Aus" <>
Subject: Min Min Lights - A Barn Owl?!
From: "Dicksons" <>
Date: Fri, 11 Apr 2003 20:27:16 +1000
Several days ago it was reported in the Townsville Bulletin that a retired grazier, Mac Wharton had seen western Queensland's legendary Min Min Lights, and claims that it was a Barn Owl glowing so brightly it was like looking into a cars headlights. His story briefly is as such:
One night he saw a light out by the swimming pool on Runnymede Station, NW of Richmond. The following night it returned so he went to investigate, creeping to within a metre of the source. The light began to fade & he could see a Barn Owl, pecking the aluminium diving board. His theory was that the owl made it's feathers glow to attract insects. The story is backed up by two stockmen who caught a glowing owl between Boulia & Bedourie one night, but released it when they thought it would die, at which point it flew away as a ball of light.
Jack Pettigrew, from UQ, said that it was possible for owls to pick up small amounts of phosphorous from fungi in their tree hollows (this is clearly not enough to produce light the intensity of a car light though). It was he who proposed the temperature inversion theory a while ago - the same phenomenon that causes far distant cities to appear in the sky. Other theories are a ghost and UFO's of course. Fascinating stuff.
The truth is out there.
Tim Dickson
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