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OWLS are not creatures that a man encounters during the day.They are seldom seen in flight, at least in towns and cities. There are very many types of owls, like the barn owl, the snowy owl, the eagle owl, the hawk owl, the great horned owl, the little owl, the burrowing owl etc..

What captured my imagination was that the OWL is the only bird that keeps to the skies at night and their sight is poor during the day leaving them vulnerable to attacks from the other birds during the day.

Since they are handicapped during the day, do they settle scores with other birds during the nights- when they have an advantage or do the other birds treat them kindly during the day showing solidarity with another winged creature?

Secondly, do owls indulge in sex during the day or in the night when their visibility improves?

In the mythology of ancient Greece, Athene, the Goddess of Wisdom, was so impressed by the great eyes and solemn appearance of the Owl that, having banished the mischievous crow, she honoured the night bird by making him her favourite among feathered creatures. Athene’s bird was a Little Owl, (Athene noctua). This Owl was protected and inhabited the Acropolis in great numbers. It was believed that a magical “inner light” gave Owls night vision. As the symbol of Athene, the Owl was a protector, accompanying Greek armies to war, and providing ornamental inspiration for their daily lives. If an Owl flew over Greek Soldiers before a battle, they took it as a sign of victory. The Little Owl also kept a watchful eye on Athenian trade and commerce from the reverse side of their coins.

But as per the belief of Odo of Cheriton, a Kentish preacher of the 12th Century has this explanation of why the Owl is nocturnal: The Owl had stolen the rose, which was a prize awarded for beauty, and the other birds punished it by allowing it to come out only at night.

Consequently the belief system of the English was not favourable towards the owls. The following line from Shakespeare’s JULIUS CAESAR would bear me out:…yesterday, the bird of night did sit Even at noonday, upon the market place, Hooting and shrieking

Different beliefs abound in respect of the bird, but the most amazing belief is that the owl meat is an aphrodisiac!!The following news item which appeared in the Times Of India in 2006 is fascinating:-

Sex maniacs kill owls for aphrodisiac

19 Apr 2006, 1634 hrs IST, IANS

DHAKA: Owls in Bangladesh have come under attack from hunters for their brains and eyes, which are rumoured to cure sexual deficiencies. The unfounded rumours have caused so many owls to be killed in the southern Bangladesh district of Bagerhat in the past few months that concerns are being raised over the future of the bird, wildlife experts said. “The coastal district, which borders the mangroves of the Sunderban forest, has been the natural habitat of more than one owl species,” said Sharif Kian, adviser to the Bangladesh wildlife protection society. “The senseless killing of owls over false publicity of its healing powers has threatened the existence of these birds and the biodiversity in the region,” Khan said. The report said six adult owls netted alive fetched about 25,000 Bangladeshi taka ($357). The rumour of the owls’ imagined power to heal male impotency crossed the border into India’s neighbouring West Bengal state, where it has already created a group of clients.

Out of the two fold doubts, the second doubt got cleared when i googled. It is stated therein that the mating of the owls is rare during the days. The link to the youtube watch that shows the mating is pasted below.

The first question is yet to be answered.

The fascinating thing i found was that man is perversely vacillating  in his beliefs. He could swing from attributing WISDOM at one point and treat the meat of the owls as APHRODISIAC at another point.

But the owls are the winged guardians of the night and had it not been for them, the rats and bandicoots would have been scampering all over the place and even a Pied Piper of Hamelin could not have gotten rid of those rodent vermin.

LONG LIVE THE OWL! (but in Hindi kyun boltha hai- ullu ke pattey?)

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