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The Mysteries About Owls

Updated on January 6, 2017
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Allisyn writes about tarot, astrology, angel therapy, aromatherapy, feng shui, interior design, and human and animal behavior.

The Many Faces Of Owls

Owls have a reputation from being very wise to being very spooky. There is folklore of owls being magical and mystical. Poems and songs have been written about their wisdom and they've played roles in animated movies as both wise and evil. There is a natural mystery surrounding these wide eyed nocturnal beauties.

No wonder we have such a fascination with them. I'm sure that you can see that I resonate with the mysterious owls. Owls first appeared in my life when my son was creating a lot of glass engraving art. He created a lot of owls and I fell in love with every one of those pieces. I started to research different symbolism and legends and found a wealth of information about these wise old birds.

The Wise Old Owl

There was an owl liv'd in an oak
The more he heard, the less he spoke
The less he spoke, the more he heard.

O, if men were all like that wise bird

This nursery rhyme was written about an owl and is meant to teach children to be seen and not heard. When hunting, an owl sits quietly watching and listening. Giving it the reputation of being wise enough to wait quietly still, gaining knowledge for the right moment to make it's move. There are some species of owls who even have feathers that are silent when they fly making them even more of a surprise to it's prey.

Famous Animated Owls

There are several different versions to the story but it is said that Walt Disney killed an owl when he was 7. How and why he did it, is where the confusion seems to set in but it is consistent that he was the age of 7. It is believed that because of his guilt over this act, he made owls major characters in his productions.

Big Moma is the motherly owl in "The Fox And The Hound". It is her wisdom and motherly nature that helps the orphaned fox Tod find his adoptive parent Widow Tweed.

Professor Owl was a school teacher and appeared in Disney's series Sing Along, and shorts Melody and Toots. "To play a simple tune, you will have to use four horns of different lengths."- Professor Owl

Friend Owl is an important role in "Bambi". He is well known through out the forest. Friend Owl is especially close to the royal family of the forest. Bambi's mother and Bambi, the great prince of the forest. In the beginning of the movie, Thumper the Rabbit alerts Friend Owl of the prince being born and he flies over to greet Bambi for the first time.

Owl is the stuffy friend in "Winnie The Pooh" He is talkative and considered to be the most intelligent animal in the forest. Owl actually is not as intelligent as he makes others believe and cannot read or write and is quite scatterbrained.

Owl Superstitions And Myths

There are thousands of superstitions and myths when it comes to the big spooky eyed owl. It stars in our Halloween decorations and a far off hoot of an owl can be heard in horror flicks. On the flip side, owls are associated with the moon so they symbolize wisdom and intuition.

  • Witchcraft usually comes to mind when we think of owls. Owls are often pictured riding on a broomstick with a witch Because of it's nocturnal life, the Greeks and Romans believed that witches can transform into owls at night and swoop down to suck the blood out of a baby.
  • Owls are the only animals that can live with ghosts so that is why if they nest in and abandoned house then it must be haunted.
  • The owl is associated with the Greek goddess of learning, Athena. The Greeks had owls on their currency symbolizing wisdom and wealth.
  • Death is near if an owl perches on your house or you constantly hear one hooting near your home.
  • The Burrowing Owl is sacred to certain Native American Tribes. It is the symbol of their god of death.
  • In many African countries, an owl is considered to be a messenger between the Shaman and the spirit world

Fun Owl Facts

  • A group of owls is called a parliament.
  • There are 200 species of owls split up into two groups. Barn and Strigidae.
  • A baby owl is called an owlet.
  • An owl has tube like eyeball that cannot move giving them binocular depth perception and they can rotate their head 270 degrees.
  • The owl's ear tufts, or horns as some people refer to them, are tufts of feathers that can indicate the owl's mood. Or the wise bird will use them as camouflage in the branches of the trees.
  • The tiniest owl is the Elf Owl. The Elf Owl is 5-6 inches tall and weighs about 1 1/2 ounces.
  • The largest owl is the North American Great Grey Owl which is 32 inches.

A Few Owl Sanctuaries To Visit

Do you want to get up close and look into those beautiful big eyes? Here are some interesting sanctuaries that you can visit. A few of these sanctuaries allow you to actually hold and pet some of these beautiful mystical creatures. Most of them rest in beautiful parts of the country on several thousand acres.

  • Owl's Hill Nature Sanctuary in Brentwood, Tn
  • World Bird Sanctuary in Valley Park, Mo
  • Nation Aviary in Pittsburgh, Pa
  • Starr Ranch in Audubon, Ca
  • West Valley Outdoor Learning Center in Spokane, Wa


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