Owls in Lore and Culture
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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