WolThe internet is a wonderful thing. Type “Owls” and click “I’m feeling lucky” on Google* and you WILL get Owlpages.com – pretty much everything you need to know about owls. Links to “Owlcams” and lots of great pics of owls looking variously: dopey, grumpy, sleepy and bashful. None looking happy or sneezy. (Or doc).

“This is ridiculous!” you exclaim. “Owls are nothing like dwarves.”

Smugly I point you in the direction of THE BURROWING OWL. Here’s the Burrowing Owl Artificial Nest Box Project to make the point. Yes some Owls do dig the ground for their livelihood. Don’t foist your avian stereotype on the Owl. Remember these are RAPTORS! Yes them what did for Bob Peck in Jurassic Park “Clever boys” sez the hapless Peck (ha!) before getting gutted and fed to owl chicks back in their underground lair. That’s how it goes.

Owls are also top of that school-science staple, the woodland food chain. No bugger gets to eat the owl. Though raptorfoundation.org (see!) in it’s section on Owl Medicine, claims that “in England… Owl broth was given to children to prevent them from becoming drunkards” and “eating charred owls eyeballs was supposed to ward off madness”. Stop the rise of binge drinking – boil an owl.

The Brown Wedge is the place to cover Garner’s fab The Owl Service, but I do have to mention the enormous power that Owls have in story and myth. Terrifying omens, augurs of bad luck, they weave an atavistic web of magic and fear around the unconscious symbols of mankind. Perhaps most primal of all these Stragiforme images is Bubo – the Robot Owl from Clash of the Titans. Aww! Unfortunately, NOT ACTUALLY A REAL ANIMAL.

*Bonus science: another thing you can safely google is “Tasty Chick Hypothesis” – now tested on Owls, to no great conclusion