Are owls really smart?

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(courtesy of Pottery Barn Kids)

I admit it.  I’ve completely fallen in love with the childhood décor of our generation and current obsession of all hipster children’s magazines on the planet– the cute little owl.   They are pink and green and patchwork with button eyes and cute little feet dangling from their stuffed calico bodies.  They adorn walls and bags and hardware pulls and everything you can think of.  So what’s a mom to do?  Well, you get on etsy this minute, you idiots, and find wall décor that encourages your youngster to be wise and studious and adorably hip.  Plus it was the mascot of one of my bestie’s sorority, so it’s a win/win.

Hoot hoot for all.

But as I was sitting there one day in my daughter’s room folding laundry, my mind wandered to why exactly owls were considered smart to begin with.  Are they?  There’s a wise owl in Winnie the Pooh, and I think Mr. Rogers had a rendition that quoted Shakespere, so I of course had to stop everything and run to my computer to find out.  Could The Owl and the Pussycat have led me astray all these years? This is why laundry never gets put away in my house.  And consequently why we have such rambling conversations at dinner.  Mostly ending with “good question / let’s google that” followed by “but aren’t you going to do the dishes?” and my outcry response of horror because obviously no, dishes can wait but knowing the proper scientific name for a baby dinosaur cannot. Duh.  Drop that breadstick and follow me to the computer immediately.

In Greek mythology, the owl was Athena’s go-to bird and an ancient coin from Athens even bore the owl’s image to symbolize the goddess of wisdom.  And it’s connected with mysticism and all sorts of witchcraft and fantasy, mostly because it flies at night under the cover of darkness with an amazing sense of hearing and very awesome night vision.  And then it appears as a recurring main character in Harry Potter, and it’s got those big smart-looking eyes with a head that moves about like a law professor, and it’s the mascot of Rice University, for heaven’s sakes.  It’s solidified as being way more intellectual than those brothel-loving, swearing, ugly, annoying little grackles that appear in supermarket parking lots.  Done.  You don’t have to convince me.  It’s the new room décor of choice whether you like it or not, sweetheart.  Let’s head down to Pottery Barn Kids post haste.

But the more I read about these (rather scary) creatures, it appears that they are very tunnel visioned when it comes to killing, and they regurgitate up the nastiest owl pellets, and with the exception of their fine-tuned senses they really are a bit dim-witted. So when I tell my daughter to “grow wise, young owl,” I’m really telling her to escape under the veil of black night to go kill young rodents and please don’t stumble dumbly in front of a truck and get whacked by a windshield, because those insurance deductibles are killer.  Just sleep all day and stay up all night and make scary screeching noises because you’ll someday be featured in a young adult fantasy novel.

OMG.  Effective immediately, I’m changing her room mascot to a dolphin.

Comments

  1. ;-}

    you always make me think twice … and often smile!

  2. I like this so much, MAINLY BECAUSE YOU APPROACHED THE WHOLE THING THE WAY I WOULD–THINKING, QUESTIONING, RESEARCHING, RE-EVALUATING. AND FOR THE RECORD, BACK IN MY DAY, I WAS TOTALLY A DOLPHIN GIRL.

  3. Aack! Why did the caps freak out on me???

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