I love owls, being a night owl myself, it’s hard not to connect. Living in Santa Barbara I am lucky to be close to so many species of owls, and love when I have the opportunity to see them . Santa Barbara has Great Horned owls, Barn owls, and Western Screech owls which are our most common, California Spotted owls, Long-eared owls, Northern Pygmy owls, Northern Saw-whet owls and Flammulated owls which keep out of sight in less populated areas, and we also get Short-eared owls and Burrowing owls during the winter.
The largest of Santa Barbara’s owls is the Great Horned owl it’s giant, while our smallest owls the Northern Pygmy owl and Flammulated owl they are so adorable that they make you turn to mush (literally).
Owls are tough carnivorous birds, eating mammals, birds, reptiles, fish and insects. Owls are strong hunters and both catching and kill their prey with their strong talons. Their preference, however is mice and other rodents (it’s like their steak and lobster).
Owls have astonishing night time vision, particularly developed sense of hearing, are stealthy fliers, are and have so many cultural meanings. Many first nations/ indigenous cultures in the USA and Canada believe that owls are the messenger’s death or are bringers of wisdom. In ancient Greek culture owls represented knowledge, in ancient Egyptian, Celtic, and Hindu cultures the owl was the guardian of the underworlds, and played a role in the protection of the dead. Because of this believed connection between owls and death or the dead a lot of people have misunderstood the owls as something to be afraid of. This is not the case at all, owls are believed to be kind and benevolent creatures that give those who have passed protection and those who have been left behind knowledge that their loved ones are okay.
Owls are becoming more and more in danger, largely because of the act of humans on their natural habitats. With the destruction of their forests and ecosystems many owls are killed, and many of the survivors eggs are destroyed as forests are toppled for various forms of industry. Owls are often exposed to toxic chemicals in forestry and agriculture, some have been poisoned by exposure to the insecticide carbofuran, which is used to fight epidemic populations of grasshoppers.As humans, it is our job to protect wildlife from this sort of tragedy. It would be devastating if the owl was the next white rhino or dodo bird.
Owls are beautiful creatures that play an important role in our ecosystem, we may not realize how they play such an important role in our lives, economy, and environment. Owls kill insects and rodents, this means that they protect agricultural areas and benefit humans by killing large numbers of small rodents which eat crops or rodents and bugs that run about in front of your house giving you a fright!
Basically what I am saying is that these birds are amazing… and we have to do what we can to protect them before they are gone.