Originating from The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis, we learn that a flock of owls is called a parliament. There are 200 species of owls, and they are nocturnal meaning that they are active at night. Late one evening at dusk, I unknowingly disturbed an owl who apparently was hunting in a nearby tree. Owls fly silently through the night sky, but I felt his talons brush my hair as he flew effortlessly over the top of my head. Since owls have very powerful talons for catching and killing prey, I’m thankful that he wasn’t more annoyed with me, and only issued a small warning that I was in his territory. Owls have been known to attack humans when protecting their young or their territory.

Owls actually help to control rodents. Barn owls eat up to a 1,000 mice per year. While they may swallow their prey whole, owls do not digest all of their prey. Fur and bone are compacted into a “pellet” which is coughed up and expelled through their mouths.While most owls hunt for insects, small mammals, and other birds, some will hunt fish to eat. Owls have the interesting ability to turn their heads 270 degrees. They have very sharp eyesight at a distance, but cannot see as well at closer distances. For example, a vole can be seen by a Northern Hawk Owl up to a half a mile away.

Many native American Indian Tribes believed that the owl is a symbol of death.Hearing an owl “hoot” is considered a bad omen, and many tribes believed that evil medicine men could shape-shift into owls and could fly silently through the night and spy on people as they slept.They also believed that bad medicine men could cause disease or death of their enemies by communicating with owls, or even steal men’s souls.

Owls do not bother to build nests; they just use other birds’ abandoned nests.They also nest in barns, hollow trees, deserted buildings, belfries, and dense evergreen trees in cold weather.Unfortunately, owl populations are declining in the wild due to human encroachment. Because owls are struggling to adapt to the changes in their ecosystems, the survival of many species of owls is in doubt.





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