Dear mummy, as a baby I come across a lot of magical and awesome sights. One of those sights is my Grandfather’s massive collection of owls.
Owls are some of the most interesting and mysterious birds in the world so I can see my Grandfather’s fascination with them. They are beautiful creatures with flat moon faces and big eyes. My Grandfather has a huge collection of owls (obviously not real as they would poo and make a mess) in his study and every time we visit my mummy loves looking at his collection of ornaments. He has over 300 owls in his collection. There around 200 species of owls in the world! His consist mainly of Barn Owls and Tawny Owls, owls carved out of wood, marble, silver, stone and glass. Some have intricate detail and amazing beadwork. He has picked them up from all over the place, Peru, Asia, Canada, UK and Europe.
My favourites are the white and black owls brought back from Russia. Did you know that owls have been around for a long time? They appeared in fossil records up to 58 million years ago. They are also depicted in Egyptian hieroglyphics and Mayan art. Woweee that’s a long time!
Owls today are found on all continents except Antarctica. It’s too cold for them there and there’s not much for them to eat apart from ice. Owls are carnivorous and will eat rodents, small sized mammals, insects and some eat fish and other birds. Owls are birds of prey so they need to hunt and eat meat. They have powerful claws which help them catch and kill prey. A Barn Owl can eat up to 1,000 mice each year and you can see why farmers try to attract Barn Owls to help control rodent populations. Barn Owls are my favourite as they have beautiful heart shape faces. Owls are very quiet when flying compared to other birds of prey as they have specialized feathers with fringes of varying softness the help muffle sound. They have broad wings and light bodies and camouflage coloured feathers.
All owls stand and sit in an upright position and have forward-facing eyes that give them binocular vision, just like us. Owls can turn their heads as much as 270 degrees to look around as they can’t turn their eyes. They have 3 eyelids which is kinda gross. One for sleeping, one for blinking and one for keeping it clean. Urgh.
Most owls are nocturnal, actively hunting their prey in darkness. Their hunting strategy depends on stealth and surprise. Not all owls hoot and they can screech, bark, whistle and hiss. This is what makes them kinda creepy and sinister. You can tell why witches and wizards love them! I like Harry Potter’s owl Hedwig, but he is kinda clumsy and harmless. Quite the opposite from real life. An owl’s sharp beak and powerful talons allow it to kill its prey before swallowing it whole (if it is not too big). Oh no, mummy! will Grandad’s owls eat me?!?! They look far too friendly to attack humans. Well that’s what I think….However in 2013, a man from Inverness, Scotland suffered heavy bleeding after being attacked by an owl, which was widely believed to be an Eagle Owl. Bigger than me! Well nearly….
In Africa, amongst some of the tribes, it is believed owls are harbingers of death. If someone saw an owl or heard its hoot, someone was going to die. Owls are viewed as omens of bad luck, ill health, or death. It’s not just Africans that believe this superstition in Arab mythology and Native American cultures, owls are a very bad omen too. Good thing us Westerners associate owls with wisdom. We have Ancient Greece to thank for that. Athena was the goddess of wisdom, and had the owl as her symbol. Talking of wisdom, did you know a group of owls is called a parliament, wisdom or study. “Parliament?!?”….funny how a group of owls could mean that and in superstitious terms mean harbingers of death and bad omens. Do you think our UK parliament are owls of wisdom or bad luck?
But we can help.To show your support and for more information http://www.owls.org
In the meantime I will enjoy my Grandfather’s collection of owls from across the world and hopefully they will be passed down from generation to generation for our whole family to enjoy.
I hope you enjoyed this post it’s been a hoot!
Baby Bella Owlet xx