One of the readers pointed out, astutely, that owls are the cats of the bird world. And this juvenile, whose species is unknown to me, surely looks catlike: check out its eyes. (One commenter even said “It’s like a cat with a beak and bird feet.”)
Since we’re all proving to be owl fans, I’ll post one a day for a week, starting with a cute one. But we’ll have some owl biology too.
There are 217 species of owls, all in the bird order Strigiformes. They live on all continents save Antarctica.
Two fun facts about owls:
- A group of owls is called a parliament (analogous to a “murder of crows”)
- This is my own observation, made after innumerable French people laughed at me when I tried to say the most difficult French word to pronounce: serrurier (“locksmith”). In revenge, I always asked the French to pronounce “owl”. They simply can’t do it. They contort their faces and mouths into untenable positions and finally manage to come out with something like “awww-wellllll”. It’s hilarious. I was told that the French have three general terms for owls, classifying them by size, with the chouette being the smallest, hibou the medium-sized, and the grand duc the largest. “Chouette” is also a term for “cool”, as in “ça c’est chouette”, which, when I lived in France, I automatically translated as “that’s owly!”
So identify the species. . .