Actually, International Owl Awareness Day was yesterday… but it’s too much of a goodie to miss! What a week, with World Breastfeeding Week, The beginning of the Olympic Games and Owl Awareness too, running multiple campaigns for multiple companies, one new website, one new showroom on the go, my first ‘baby three’ doctors visit, elections and two sick kids who have been at home for TWO weeks… I’m hoping you will forgive my less that punctual piece. I just couldn’t let this one go… because owls are my absolute BEST.
Growing up there was a resident owl in my grandparents neighbourhood, He was often seen perched on top of one particular stop sign. And I think that is where my fascination began, because he (or she) was nothing like other birds. He had character and a connection to his surroundings as well as the people in the community. I’m sure most Benonians will be able to recall this beautiful bird? Its a pity smart phones weren’t around then, otherwise I’m sure someone would’ve had a pic. He was part of growing up.
What a privilege that was – today, the only owls my children have seen are in cages. We often think that it’s the presence of people that drive owls away, in truth, owls and humans generally get along. In Japan, owl cafe’s are common where one can hang out with these magnificent creatures while enjoying a cup of tea (I’m not saying I agree with the practice, I’m just stating this as point of interest when it comes to the social side of these birds). They are intelligent and sociable. Did you know that the eyes of an owl are not true “eyeballs.” Their tube-shaped eyes are completely immobile, providing binocular vision which fully focuses on their prey and boosts depth perception, this is why owls need to be able to rotate their necks 270 degrees. A blood-pooling system collects blood to power their brains and eyes when neck movement cuts off circulation. AMAZING!!!
These days, owls are unfortunately still prosecuted due to the belief that they bring bad luck and death. They are also all too often the victims of secondary poisoning due to feeding on poisoned rats and mice – when they could in fact be a natural rodent deterrent for us all. Did you know that the average barn owl eats up to 1000 rodents p/year.
So, how can we become more owl friendly?
- Use traps instead of poison to control mice and rats
- Leave dead trees standing if they are not dangerous
- Use less paper and recycle – we all know where paper comes from, and where owls like to live
- Don’t encourage your dogs to chase birds
- Remove any unused barbed wire on your property
- Only pick up Owl chicks if you know they are injured or ill – also, lets leave owl care to the experts
- Put up an Owl box – you can get them here or make one yourself
- Mow less of your lawn -short grass is not good wildlife habitat, which means there will be less owl food there