The Wise Old Owl - Myths and Legends, Molly the Educational Barn Owl Sparks Curiosity
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The Wise Old Owl - Myths and Legends, Molly the Educational Barn Owl Sparks Curiosity

Recently I have become fascinated by owls. This sudden interest in owls is mostly due to Molly the famous barn owl. Molly is a wild barn owl who, along with her mate McGee, is raising her clutch of owlets in front of a live webcam.

Recently I have become fascinated by owls. This sudden interest in owls is mostly due to Molly the famous barn owl. Molly is a wild barn owl who, along with her mate McGee, is raising her clutch of owlets in front of a live webcam. My 6 year old son and I are really enjoying being able to witness nature at it's finest. You can follow Molly and McGee here Molly the owl live webcam.

My son asked if owls are smart, which I thought was an interesting question that made me wonder "why DO we view owls as a symbol of wisdom?"

The owl is not really a wise bird at all. The owl actually has a small brain in comparison to it's size. Other birds such as crows, ravens and geese are much smarter than owls.

The origin of the wise owl dates all the way back to Greek mythology. The owl represents Athena who was the goddess of wisdom. In early Indian folklore, owls represent wisdom, helpfulness and they also have the power to predict the future.

molly the barn owl, molly owl, owlcam

I remember this nursery rhyme from when I was a child that depicts the owl as a wise bird.

A wise old owl lived in an oak

The more he saw the less he spoke

The less he spoke the more he heard.

Why can't we all be like that wise old bird?

Bubo, clockwork owl, clash of the titans owl, perseus owl, bubo owl

As a young girl I fondly remember the smart little clockwork owl named Bubo who helped Perseus in the Clash of the Titans. There was also this Aesop's fable,


The Owl and the Grasshopper is one of Aesop's Fables. The Owl always takes her sleep during the day. Then after sundown, when the rosy light fades from the sky and the shadows rise slowly through the wood, out she comes ruffling and blinking from the old hollow tree. Now her weird "hoo-hoo-hoo-oo-oo" echoes through the quiet wood, and she begins her hunt for the bugs and beetles, frogs and mice she likes so well to eat.

Now there was a certain old Owl who had become very cross and hard to please as she grew older, especially if anything disturbed her daily slumbers. One warm summer afternoon as she dozed away in her den in the old oak tree, a Grasshopper nearby began a joyous but very raspy song. Out popped the old Owl's head from the opening in the tree that served her both for door and for window.

"Get away from here, sir," she said to the Grasshopper. "Have you no manners? You should at least respect my age and leave me to sleep in quiet!"

But the Grasshopper answered saucily that he had as much right to his place in the sun as the Owl had to her place in the old oak. Then he struck up a louder and still more rasping tune.

The wise old Owl knew quite well that it would do no good to argue with the Grasshopper, nor with anybody else for that matter. Besides, her eyes were not sharp enough by day to permit her to punish the Grasshopper as he deserved. So she laid aside all hard words and spoke very kindly to him.

"Well sir," she said, "if I must stay awake, I am going to settle right down to enjoy your singing. Now that I think of it, I have a wonderful wine here, sent me from Olympus, of which I am told Apollo drinks before he sings to the high gods. Please come up and taste this delicious drink with me. I know it will make you sing like Apollo himself."

The foolish Grasshopper was taken in by the Owl's flattering words. Up he jumped to the Owl's den, but as soon as he was near enough so the old Owl could see him clearly, she pounced upon him and ate him up.

The moral; Flattery is not a proof of true admiration.

Do not let flattery throw you off your guard against an enemy.

grasshopper owl, aesop owl, the owl and the grasshopper,

Credit: Aesop's fables, artwork by Kelly Jackson

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Comments (19)

Very cute! Oh well, I like the owls! :-)

I really like owls, and the video is fascinating!

Great article and wonderfully told story! Fab work.

I think I've seen only two owls in my lifetime.

Nice story, nice article. Thumbs up!

Such an adorable piece. Good work!

This is an interesting write! Tweeted and dug it!

An interesting read. Well done Rachel.

An interesting piece of work. My daugther loves the rhyme you have mentioned about owls.

I always hear owls and rarely ever see them. Driving on the interstate in central California one night, a barn owl came out of nowhere and smashed into the antenna on the car. Very scary. We had no idea what happened until the state patrol told us barn owls sometimes dive at headlights.

A fun article. I enjoyed the fable. Owls must look wise even if they're not. Lots of public figures resemble owls in that way! On the other hand, I guess wise isn't necessarily the same thing as smart--not to let dumb public figures off the hook!

that was great!!!

S. Taylor

Good article. I remember Clash of the Titans too. It was a good movie.

great writing Rachel, good story

Superb article, a must story reading and telling, owls are always related to education, great images and cute video, thumbs up Rachel.

Re-visiting. : )

This was a really lovely interesting subject and piece of work! I remember the clockwork Owl but not sure if it was from Clash of the Titans but I don't remember the nursery rhyme.

Enjoyed the read. Specially the story.Thanks.

Nice story about owls. I'm reminded of our home when I read that rhyme on owls.