Every once in a while I will notice a trend. Something that is so apparent that you won’t be able to walk into any boutique, coffee shop, or nearest bookstore without being bombarded with the trend. Right now, I am seeing owls everywhere I look. They are on necklaces, earrings, bags, clothing, artwork, and even cookie jars! It’s about time that an animal as complex as the owl is given some spotlight.
Owls, like the jellyfish, are one of the great predators who remain somewhat of a mystery. They are ancient creatures who were depicted in not only the Greek mythology as the favored creature of Athena, goddess of wisdom, but also throughout Roman and Native American mythology as a sinister creature calling the dead. This trend is long overdue seeing as how often owls come up in pop culture ranging from the popular 80’s TV series, Twin Peaks, with that infamous quote, “the owls are not what they seem”, to Harry Potter’s pet messenger Hedwig.
So why this long time love affair with owls? To me, the answer is simple. They are a mystery. They are a great hunter with few natural predators. They almost seem mythical at times for how rarely they are spotted. Their symbolism ranges from good luck and wisdom, to being sinister and associated with foreshadowing doom and death. They are built to be exceptional hunters who hunt mice, rats, rabbits and other rodents that farmers detest. The Audubon Society defines them as, “nocturnal and often solitary, they are usually shy of humans and avoid them when possible.” The owl is my animal totem, or spirit animal. I relate to them, admire them, fear them, and want to protect them.
Here is where jumping on the band wagon to the owl trend comes in play. This Sunday the 22nd, for Earth Day, help to conserve these great creatures. Although they have few natural predators, their real danger lies in the influences of human activity. They need large fields and forests where they can find food and shelter. For this reason, owls can quite easily be forced toward extinction should their environment continue to deteriorate.
So for this Earthy Day help our owls:
1) Inform the Conservation Department of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service if you know of someone who has killed or disturbed owls.
2) Place nesting boxes for barns owls and screen owls in your backyard.
3) If you must use pesticides, use conservative amounts with care. Owls like your rats and mice and will control their population if you encourage them to live around you.
4) Donate to an owl conservation or research non-profit like the Burrowing Owl Conservation Network or Owl Institute. Both of these are located in the U.S. and provide conservation to our areas owl populations.