Letters to the editor of the Boston Globe Magazine

Readers react to a scary owl story, an essay on Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy, and our Red Sox quiz.

Birds of a Feather

Great writing in that story about Beckett and the great horned owl (“Frozen Flight,” April 1). A few years back, my friend Stephanie was walking in the woods near Walden Pond when a goshawk attacked her from a treetop and got tangled in her hair. Luckily, she was unhurt. Years later, I was working as a gardener at a location not far away from that spot, and a young goshawk landed near me as I sat and ate my lunch. He seemed to realize that I was there, but didn’t mind at all.

Andy Levesque


Glad the author’s young man has recovered; I hope he finds strength from it. I’m a guy, 6 feet 4 inches, bald head, walking in downtown Boston on a busy street, and all of a sudden I was banged on the back of my head by what felt like someone swinging a briefcase. A large gull was swooping upward in an arc, away from me, sweeping to a height of about 10 stories, at which point it rotated around and came right back down toward me in a similar arc, at dive-bomb speed, this time toward my face. I was able to duck this time, using my laptop shoulder bag to shield me. The gull repeated this once again, quitting after this third attack. I now always carry a cap.

Chris Pilkington Wayland

I was so sorry about Mark Shanahan’s son’s experience in the Fells, and I’m glad he’s back to his old self. I did want to mention that while walking on a cross-country ski trail at night many years ago, an acquaintance had his hat snatched off his head by an owl. It happened so quickly, and he was left with three deep gouges in his head. In this case there were a number of witnesses who actually saw the owl, so we know for certain what caused it. When I read about the three gashes in the story, I immediately thought of this poor fellow’s experience.

Cathy Coviello Wolfeboro, New Hampshire


Thanks so much, Mark, for sharing this story. So pleased that things have turned out so well for your handsome son. I’ve sent this to one of our now-grown sons who, as a youth, took a great interest in owls and had us go out one night looking for them in the local woods. He was disappointed not one of them took a shot at us. Little did he know how lucky we were!

Dick Hoyer Wayland

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After reading “Frozen Flight” a second time I am again incensed at the callousness of the Winchester Hospital emergency room staff for discharging 12-year-old Beckett in that condition. He was clearly very ill and could have seriously deteriorated overnight. At the very least, they should have instructed his parents to take him to Boston Children’s Hospital. A sentinel event is “an unexpected occurrence involving death or serious physical or psychological harm or the risk thereof.” Sending Beckett home in that condition put him at serious risk of a sentinel event. I truly hope the hospital is aware of its serious error and has convened a “root cause analysis” to help identify factors/systems that caused this error and to prevent future ones.

Margaret White, R.N. West Roxbury

Civil Advocacy

It is so frustrating that we cannot implement the Rev. King’s “Bill of Rights for the Disadvantaged” (Perspective, April 1). There is no reason why every child in the United States and the world should not be brought up with proper food, love, support, and the opportunity to reach their full potential without regard to their religion, their color, or their economic status. If only we as human beings could see ourselves as interconnected and interdependent, then we could begin to accomplish Dr. King’s goals.

Jordan Arbit Hyde Park


Who played the most Opening Day games for the Red Sox (“Quizball,” April 1)? The answer is not Carl Yastrzemski. It’s John Kiley (the organist)!

Jack Johnston Arlington

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