Whooo doesn’t love owls? Your favorite owls are perhaps stars from the screen, like Harry Potter’s beloved snowy friend, Hedwig; Pooh Bear’s misguided guidance counselor, Owl; or the impatient empiricist, Mr. Owl, of the Tootsie Roll franchise. (Our favorite would have to be our own humble, adorable, and ever helpful mascot, Petey the Owl.) With Halloween in a few short days, what better time to learn a little more about our fluffy, funny, feathery friends? Enjoy these ten curious facts and photos about the Pacific Pygmy Owl and his owl brethren.
Glaucidium gnoma californicum! The Pacific Pygmy Owl!
Part of the Northern Pygmy Family and the most common pygmy owl in the U.S.
1. Nocturnality is so mainstream. The Pacific Pygmy Owl, unlike most owls, hunts during the day. It’s call diurnality. But you’ve probably never heard of it.
2. Like most hipsters, the Pacific Pygmy Owl also likes to hang out in coniferous forests along the West Coast between southern Alaska and Southern California. We bet their favorite parks are Yosemite National Park, Olympic National Forest, Crater Lake National Park, and Redwood National Park (find out awesome facts about the Redwoods here).
3. Call it lazy, call it resourceful, but Northern Pygmy Owls, as well as most other owls, don’t bother with building nests. Instead they simply wedge themselves in a fitting groove in the tree or steal someone else’s. No muss, no fuss!
4. The Northern Pygmy Owl can also carry up to three times his own weight. Check out that muscle definition.
5. The Pacific Pygmy Owl is only 6 to 7 inches long and 2.5 ounces heavy. That’s about the length and weight of a King Size Hershey’s candy bar!
6. Like 90% of birds, owls are seasonally monogamous. Mama keeps the babies warm while Papa brings her breakfast in bed. (Husbands of stay-at-home moms: take note.)
7. Although owls don’t speak as eloquently in real life as they do in cartoons, they don’t just ask “who?” either. They’ve got all kinds of vocal expressions.
8. When you do something dumb, owls can’t roll their eyes at you, because their eyeballs are fixed in their sockets. But they can turn their necks up to 270 degrees and still manage to give you quite a condescending look.
9. If you see an owl, it could be a sign of misfortune, death, prosperity, or wisdom. Or perhaps all at once, like you’re going to die while robbing a bank, but at least you learned your lesson. It’s hard to say. Around the world the owl has a variety of myths, omens, and legends attached to it. (My favorite nugget, whether mythical or factual, is that farmers in Transylvania used to try to scare owls away by walking around their property naked, though my guess is it was more likely just a front for the local budding nudist colony. Or perhaps the true story roots of Rocky Horror?)
10. More than one owl forms a “parliament.” Very official and organized, these birds. I wonder if they ever hold session with a grumble of pugs, flamboyance of flamingos, or business of ferrets….
11. Petey the Owl is obviously the best owl around. (We acknowledge this fact has not yet been verified by experts, and thus wasn’t included in the original 10, but we’re anticipating a speedy approval.)
Don’t you feel more educated? More knowledgeable? More prepared for Halloween?
Good. Now enjoy some more silly owl photos.