The OWL – order Strigiformes
Perhaps a lesser known Owl in literature comes from the Hopi Indians of North America. In but a few words, the Owl in this short verse gives us a sense of the magic and mystery of the Owl:
The owl hooted and told of
the morning star,
He hooted again and told of
Just what is the real tweet-tweet on the Owl in real-life? Here are a few little tidbits to pass along to your kids and grandkids to combine literature and life:
– Most Owls are active at dusk and dawn. Daytime is generally spent in quiet roost or rest.
– Owls are known to roost alone or in pairs.
– Owls are territorial, especially during breeding seasons. Courtship generally involves a male attracting a female to a nest with food or flight rituals. Owls do not construct their own nests, but mostly find abandoned nests or suitable breeding areas in trees, barns, burrows or caves. Some Owls pair during breeding season only, some stay together for up to a year and others pair for life.
– A flock of Owls is called a Parliament.
– Owls are skilled predators and hunt at night away from their daytime roosts. Equipped with keen eyesight, Owls are able to see in dim light and sometimes even in complete darkness. Owls swivel their heads a radius of 270 degrees, enabling them to see behind them without moving.
– The Owl has directional hearing, which allows it to detect and locate prey by sound as it moves.
– The Owl’s feathers are designed to muffle their sound as the Owl flies. This allows the Owl to hunt without hearing its own wings and without its prey knowing the Owl is near. Rodents, insects, fish and amphibians are delightful Owl food.
– Because of its nocturnal behavior and stealthy hunting skills, the Owl has come to be both feared and honored in cultures around the world.
– The haunting HOO HOO of the Owl has given rise to many myths and legends throughout the history of man, but the Owl also is known to whistle, purr, hiss, screech, click and scream. Hoots and sounds are most often associated with protecting territory and courting.
Ah. The Owl in real-life. Combining literature and life makes reading so much more special.
In the little Hopi Indian verse, the Owl seems very content to tell of the morning star and the dawn. Knowing what we know about the Owl in real-life, the hoot may just have been a little signal saying, “I’m here. You’re here. We can live peacefully.”
The Hopi Indians took the time to know the habits, the nature and the vocalizations of the Owl and respected its place in their lives.
Reading The Owl with your kids and grandkids, with knowledge of the Owl as a real-life bird, gives you so much to discuss… and your kids so much to think about as they embrace the literature.
Join me here each day in August for AUGUST TWEET-TWEETS on 365 Days of Literacy for Kids! A little fun, a little learning and a bit of “tweet-tweet”!