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Owls in Lore and Culture

Paper by B. G. Marcot, D. H. Johnson, & M. Cocker Updated 2012-10-31 Created 2000-06-15
Page 6 of 10


By incorporating owls once again into our modern cultures, and by understanding the roles they have played in diverse societies throughout the world and do play in ecosystems, we can admit and proffer their legitimacy as denizens of those environments we otherwise seek to exploit. Owls have served as marvellous and fantastic symbols of recreation, aesthetics, art, science, lore, political power, ethics, and even death. In the case of owls, the deep fears and anxieties they generated and the prophetic status they once held, and still hold in some cultures, present environmentalists with a handle with which to engage the interest and sympathies of a wider audience. By inviting owls into a full cultural circle, we can build a more tolerant understanding of all societies and ages, and incorporate wildlife conservation into the broader tapestry of human endeavors.


Our thanks to those who searched for or helped us trace stories of owl lore: Ajai Saxena, V.B. Sawarkar, and Baban, India; Eric Hansen, United States; and Max Sova, Russia, Armenia, and Central Asia.


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