Owsl. One of my absolute favorite birds in the world. Above are some of the types: (from L to R) Burrowing Owl, Barn Owl, Great Horned Owl, and the Snowy Owl.
Owls are a group of mainly nocturnal (active at night) birds classified as belonging to the order Strigiformes, a group which is most closely related to nightjars (Caprimulgiformes). The order is divided into two families:Tytonidae or Barn Owls and related species, and Strigidae or Typical Owls.
Appearance: A large, round head and huge, forward-facing eyes are features that make an Owl instantly recognisable. They also have a sharp, downward-facing beak (or bill), and soft, cryptically coloured plumage. Males and Females are generally similar in appearance, although the female is often up to 25% larger.
Adaptations: Owls are Raptors, or Birds of Prey, which means they hunt other living things for their food, using their special adaptations and unique abilities that set them apart from any other creature.
Exceptional vision, and acute hearing play a major part in an Owl’s hunting technique. Couple these with powerfultalons and beak, plus the ability to fly silently, and you have a formidable predator, using stealth to hunt down prey.
After Eating, Owls regurgitate pellets, which contain the indigestible bones, fur and feathers of their victims. These pellets can be collected by researchers to study Owls’ eating habits.
Distribution: Owls are found on all continents except Antarctica, and in a great variety of habitats, from thick forests to open prairies.
Size: The smallest owl in the world is the Least Pygmy Owl (Glaucidium minutissimum) at 12cm (4.5″) tall, and the biggest owl in the world is is generally accepted to be the Eurasian Eagle Owl (Bubo bubo) at up to 71cm (28″) tall.
Owls seem to be one of the birds that are drawn and painted the most, which is understandable as they are beautiful creatures that most people only know from pictures, movies, or stories. They are greatly revered in some cultures and are also hated. Athena, Greek Goddess of Wisdom has a Little Owl as her favorite of the winged creatures and is her symbol.
Folklore surrounding the Barn Owl is better recorded than for most other Owls. In English literature the Barn Owl had a sinister reputation probably because it was a bird of darkness, and darkness was always associated with death. During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the poets Robert Blair and William Wordsworth used the Barn Owl as their favourite “bird of doom.” During that same period many people believed that the screech or call of an Owl flying past the window of a sick person meant imminent death.
You can see how various places in the world look at owls by going here:
Even in children’s movies/books, owls are used as the “Wise Old Owl”, the star of the show, or there to help things go how they should — such as in Winnie the Pooh, Sleeping Beauty, Legend of the Guardians, Professor Owl from Sing-Along with Disney, Bubo from Clash of the Titans, Big Mama from Fox and the Hound, Jareth (LONG LIVE THE GOBLIN KING!) turned into an owl in Labyrinth, Archimedes from Sword in the Stone, and of course, Hedwig, Harry’s owl from the Harry Potter series.
Owls as you see are used quite a lot and are loved by many. Sadly, there are two that are endangered – The Barn Owl and the Northern Spotted (http://www.owlworlds.com/owls-endangered/ ). — and here are some of the conservation efforts that are going on to help them: http://www.owlworlds.com/owls-conservation-efforts/
I hope you enjoyed my information about Owls! I will post more at some point as, like I said, they are one of my favorite birds and could talk all day about them LOL!
Until next time,
~Namaste and Bright Blessings~