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Sunday, October 26, 2014

Snarkology Halloween Blog Hop: Join the fun for great prizes: I'm blogging :Hooty Owl-o-Ween

(Oct. 27 - Oct. 31, 2014)

The last week in October, authors will be offering interesting Halloween and Fall posts, along with tons of prizes for enterprising trick-or-treators as they follow the hop!

Leave a comment below my blog, Hooty Owl-o-Ween for a chance to win an e-book Copy of Alpha Wolf's Pet, Hidden, Book 1.  Please enter the Raffletoper at the bottom of the post for a chance to win the hop-wide grand prize, including Amazon Gift Cards!

Hooty Owl-o-Ween
By Eva Gordon

On Halloween, as you walk down the streets and to the storefronts, you will see a decorative owl or two. Throughout our history and across many cultures, people have had a great fascination with owls. You can spend days, reading about global owl myths and lore. The owl can evoke a series of emotions, from fear to admiration. Owls are associated with witchcraft and therefore a favorite Halloween decoration. In Romania, vampires were known as Strigoli, from the Roman word, strix, which referred to the screech owl. Strega, which is Italian for witch is also derived from the word, strix. They are also associated with medicine, birth, death, the weather, and wisdom. 
Eva the Witch and Screech owl (during molt, hence bald head)

According to Paul Johnsgard (North American Owls: Biology and Natural History, Smithsonian Institution Press), Mesopotamian tablets from 2,300 B.C. depict the goddess Lilith as "winged, bird-footed, and typically accompanied by owls," a significant association because Lilith was Sumeria's goddess of death. Pallas Athene--Greek goddess of fertility and power--was also affiliated with the owl, possibly "because of the nocturnal (and especially the lunar) . . . associations between female fertility goddesses and the cycles of the moon."

To the ancient Romans, to hear the hoot of an Owl presaged imminent death. The deaths of Julius Caesar, Augustus, Commodus Aurelius, and Agrippa were apparently all predicted by an Owl.
"...yesterday, the bird of night did sit Even at noonday, upon the market place, Hooting and shrieking" (from Shakespeare's "Julius Caesar")
Fortunately, for me and other owl enthusiasts, owl hooting has not presaged our deaths. Though stumbling over a log in the dark, while listening to hooting can cause injury.
So why has the owl earned a special place in our lore? Allow me to muse.

For one thing, owls are crepuscular, which means they come out at the most mysterious time of the day, twilight. The sun is setting, darkness rises and these nocturnal creatures become vocal and active. Man’s fear of the dark, or night has added to the fear of the owl as a harbinger of death.
Owls look so darn human. This is due to the position of their huge eyes. Unlike most birds whose eyes are on the sides of their heads, the owl’s eyes look ahead as our do, and they have to rotate their heads to see all round them, again, as man does, but owls are a bit better at it, their heads can swivel nearly 180 degrees to each side, adding up to nearly 360 degrees. A pretty freaky thing to see.

Figure 1 Willie our education barn owl from Blackprairie Raptor Center
Here are reasons why Owls appear supernatural:
They swoop in silently because of downy feathers. Without a warning the owl’s powerful talons silently crushes the mouse.  Fan an owl’s feather compared to another bird’s feather to hear the difference.
Owls have amazing night vision and can see in almost complete darkness.
Their hearing is also superior and they can pinpoint a mouse’s footsteps despite other ambient sounds. At a raptor center, there was one barn owl that was nervous around a handler. It detected that she had a heart murmur.
They have a ravenous (sorry ravens) appetite. Researchers found that one barn owl family can consume 3,000 voles/year. Owls are our best ally in eating rodent pests. The owl regurgitates undigested bones and fur called owl pellets or castings. Finding such pellets might have inspired ancient people to associate owls with death.
Other reasons why owls contributed to eerie legends:
Often owl vocalizations and screeching cans sound very human and even evil.
Seeing a white owl at night might have been one of the reasons the lore of white ghosts evolved. Even recently, mystery lights can possibly be blamed on owls. Or what about those aliens we call the greys with their owlish faces and huge black barn owl like eyes?

What are your thoughts on owls? Comment for a chance to win an e-book copy of Alpha Wolf's Pet, Hidden Book 1.

For Grand Prizes Enter Rafflecopter here:

Follow the Hop for Trick-o-treating other Prizes Below

Interested in Books by Eva Gordon? Open quick hyperlink to Amazon Page:


Joely Bogan said...

I loved owls when owls weren't cool. My grandma had a collection of over 500 ceramic owls. And then she had a necklace collection that she wore everyday of over 100.. I love them they are very majestic. Thanks for the chance.

Eva Gordon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Eva Gordon said...

Hi Joely,
How cool. Lucky you. I've always loved owls (after ravens, owls are my favorite birds) and I'm curious why they are now so popular.
Good thing because we need them more than ever. :)

Anne said...

Interesting info about owls. Don't hear much about them in my area.

Eva Gordon said...

Hi Anne,
I'm sure there are plenty of owls in your area but they are so super stealthy you would never know it.

Owl boxes are a good way to draw them to your are, however, if the habitat is gone, reintroducing trees is a start.

Jean MP said...

I have always found owls intriguing, I am always happy when I hear them in the trees behind our house.
skpetal at hotmail dot com

Eva Gordon said...

Hi Jean,
Nothing better than the hoot of an owl, or screech, or other funny sounds they often make.

Katie O'Sullivan said...

Owls are certainly making a huge comeback right now - in stores everywhere. When the kids were little we took Audobon nature classes at Drumlin Farm in Lincoln, MA where they have a wonderful collection of owls, falcons and eagles who were rescued from the wild. Some are rehabilitated to release, but some can't go back because of missing limbs. My middle child was always fascinated by the owls! Such cool creatures!

Eva Gordon said...

Hi Katie,
Your kids are so lucky to have experienced going to a raptor rehab center. I bet they know the peregrine falcon, not the cheetah, is the fastest animal on earth.

Krysykat said...

Owl's are awesome :)


Eva Gordon said...

Yes, owls rock! :-). Love your name, Kriysykat.

bn100 said...

kind of cool

bn100candg at hotmail dot com

Eva Gordon said...

Thanks. :)

Phaedra Seabolt said...

As a bird, they are beautiful. I love them, but as decorations, they are over done.


Eva Gordon said...

Hi Phaedra,
I agree. They are such awesome hunters. Maybe the decorations are a result of Harry Potter.

Melissa Snark said...

Thanks for the interesting post. I love owls. Although, I'm not a huge owl enthusiast, but I think they're neat and cool.

Thank you for participating in the Halloween Hop. Have a great week!

Eva Gordon said...

Thanks Melissa for inviting me to participate in your fun Halloween Hop. :-)

Sheryl Hayes said...

I've always thought owls were amazing birds.

Eva Gordon said...

Hi Sheryl,
I bet they would make amazing shifters. I have raven shifters in my story but one of these days I'll have an owl shifter.

Eva Gordon said...

Congrats to Phaedra for winning an e-book copy of Alpha Wolf's Pet, Hidden, book 1. :)

Sending you an e-mail.