Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Why are owls so popular? Notes from the Wolery.

Lately it seems like I'm seeing owls everywhere!  They are in artwork, on purses, on websites and t-shirts.  What is it about owls that has made them the rage?  Is it because of Harry Potter's snowy owl, Hedwig?  Or is there some other underlying reason for their popularity?

Owls have long been of interest to humans.  In fact, they can even be found in Egyptian heiroglyphics.  Poets have for ages loved to write of the owl - including Shakespeare, Keats, Browning, Tennyson, and of course, Lear's Owl and the Pussycat.  Thoreau wrote in Walden "I rejoice that there are owls.  Let them do the idiotic and maniacal hooting for men."

And of course, aside from Harry Potter, owls have been popular in media for a while.  Remember the tootsie roll pop owl?  Or how about the Great Owl in the Secret of Nimh (one of my absolute favorite childhood movies).   And let us not forget Winnie the Pooh and his friend, Owl, who writes his name "WOL" and lives in the Wolery. 

Honestly, I think owls are just popular because they're such cool birds.  While popular myth has it that they can rotate their head 180*, technically it's 135*.  In either direction.  And they also have binocular vision.  Hello, how handy would that be while they're trying to watch after their fighting little owlets?

Some species of owls actually have special feathers that enable them to fly silently.  That makes them like the James Bond of birds.  In addition, the dull color of their feathers can make them virtually invisible a lot of the time.  Imagine the stealth! 

As if that isn't enough, they have that wonderful hoot sound.  This is actually a territorial noise for them.  Plus, they have those adorable little owly ear tufts.  When I see pictures of those ear tufts, I just want to pet them.  Totally cute.  But of course, they are wild and mysterious, and best left without people treating them as pets.  So I will continue to appreciate them from afar, and listen to the occasional hooting we hear in the evenings.  Maybe, if I'm lucky, I'll stumble on an owl pellet one day.  It would make for a seriously cool science experiment for me and Pierce.


Mere said...

I love how you labeled this post "random"

Anonymous said...

I ordered an owl pellet for John to dissect when we were doing 6th grade.

Unknown said...

If you don't happen to find an owl pellet, you can buy them online. We got one for our nephews a couple years ago for Christmas. It was the biggest hit of a gift.

w said...

i think owls are way cool. that's all. and. i finally got your button on my blog. that bear looks hungry.