Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Wisdom of Owls

A group of BCAS members were on a field trip to Granger Lake in late November of this year with the objectives of finding Mountain Plovers or perhaps some Whooping Cranes.  Neither species were found on that day.  However, we stopped for a brief chat with a man out birding, too.  He told of a Burrowing Owl that could be found a little farther up the road.  He changed what we were looking for; his eyes, his directions, our benefit.

Wise as an owl, the old saying goes.  I’ve known some very astute people in my time.  Yet, are they as smart as owls, or smarter than?  Whoo knows?  (Sorry, couldn’t resist.)  Even more curious is the origin of such phrases.  For example, what might have been the origin for what is known as a gathering of owls—a parliament of owls?  One suggestion is that in Merrie Olde England, gentlemen were expected to be able to name a group of any animal they might encounter on a hunt, ergo, a gaggle of geese, a pack of wolves, a knot of toads and a parliament of owls.  But, why a parliament?  For that matter, I’ve not ever seen a group of owls.  I’ve witness a murder of crows harassing an owl.  There are families of owls.  Is that what is meant?  It is obvious I do not possess the wisdom of owls, for I do not know.

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