You may have heard a lot about owls and their wisdom. However, the question is; are they really wise? if not then why are owls considered wise? what is the reason behind this?
The owl’s reputation as a wise creature is owed to its hunting skills and nocturnal lifestyle. They are considered a symbol of wisdom mainly in western cultures. In ancient Greece, Athena, the goddess of wisdom and warfare was usually depicted with an owl
However, that’s not all and there are a lot of interesting things related to owls and their wisdom. Luckily, you are in the right place because I am going to tell you a few things about owls that you probably don’t know and also answer the question; why are owls considered wise?
So if you are interested in learning all this then keep on reading!
Why Are Owls Considered Wise?
The owl is a creature that has been associated with wisdom, knowledge, and mystery for centuries.
One of the main reasons behind this is that owls are nocturnal animals. This means that they are mostly active during the night while most other animals are asleep.
This gives them an aura of mystery and makes them seem wise since they are up and about when most other creatures are not.
Another reason why owls are considered wise is because of their hunting skills.
They are very skilled hunters and can take down prey much larger than themselves. This shows that they are smart and know how to get what they want.
Lastly, owls have been considered symbols of wisdom in many cultures.
In ancient Greece, the goddess of wisdom and warfare, Athena, was often depicted with an owl. In Native American folklore, owls are often seen as messengers of the spirit world.
So these are some of the reasons why owls are considered wise. They are skilled hunters, and nocturnal creatures, and have been seen as symbols of wisdom in many cultures.
Are Owls Intelligent?
Now that we know some of the reasons why owls are considered wise, you might be wondering if they are actually intelligent.
There are several studies that claim that owls aren’t as clever as popular belief suggests, yet they’re still able to attract their food. The burrowing owl, which is a kind of owl, has been observed using pieces of dung and bones as bait to entice its prey.
However, in one other test, the grey owl, which is another type of owl, was unable to figure out how to pull a string to obtain a treat. These complicated cognitive activities are carried out to assess how intelligent owls are.
Furthermore, according to studies conducted by psychologist Satoshi Kanazawa, night owls are more likely to be intelligent.
The brain of an owl is where things get a bit complicated. Around 75% of its brain is devoted to the sense of sight and hearing. But at the same time, only 25% is left for data processing and decision making.
How smart are owls?
As mentioned above, scientists have carried out tests and experiments to assess the smartness and intelligence of owls. They were able to gather some important data from their experiments and it was enough to shock them.
When it comes to hunting, owls can be considered master hunters of the night. It is because of their super stealthy movement which is no less than a skilled assassin. Scientists have studied this movement with the help of cameras and microphones.
During this test, the subject owl was found to be moving from one place to another without even making a sensation that a sensitive microphone could detect.
But some researchers, suggest that they shouldn’t be compared with other smart birds such as corvids which are known for their extreme level of intelligence.
Scientific Tests to Assess the Intelligence of an Owl
Scientists have devised some tests to assess the intelligence of an owl. There are multiple experiments to see how smart these creatures are. Let’s take a look at some of these experiments conducted by different groups of researchers.
In order to assess the problem-solving skills of an owl, researchers used the string-pulling test. It is a simple test in which a treat is attached to a piece of string which is kept at a distance and the bird has to pull the string to get the food.
During this test, 6 out of 12 owls were found to be able to pull the string and get the food. Some of them were noticed to be pulling it in a strange way which means they are not able to decide what to do with the string.
Another test was conducted to see how owls attract their prey. Dung beetles are the favorite food of owls. During this study, researchers were amazed to see how owls used dung as bait to bring these beetles close to them.
Owls have been found to be successful in this test as they were able to lure the dung beetles with their feces. This means owls are intelligent enough to use tools for their benefit.
One more experiment was carried out by researchers in order to study the hunting skills of an owl. In this experiment, Terry T. Takahashi, a biologist explained how owls use the sound localization technique to find their prey when the visibility is almost zero in the darkness. This research is published in the Journal of Experimental Biology.
Are owls smarter than crows and ravens?
After hearing about different studies and tests, one question that might be arising in your mind is are owls smarter than crows and ravens? Well, the answer is not that simple.
Owls are nocturnal birds which means they are active during the night while crows and ravens are diurnal birds meaning they are mostly active during the day. This difference in activity level might be one of the reasons why owls are considered to be more intelligent than crows and ravens.
Crows and ravens are known for their intelligence as they are able to solve complex problems. But when it comes to owls, they are mostly known for their hunting skills.
Owls have some special features which help them in hunting such as their sharp vision and hearing. They are also able to fly silently which helps them to surprise their prey.
So, we can say that owls are more intelligent when it comes to hunting while crows and ravens are more intelligent when it comes to solving complex problems.
Wise Owls in Folklore and Mythology
Owls have been considered wise creatures in different folklore and mythology. In Greek mythology, Athena, the goddess of wisdom is often associated with an owl.
There is also a story in Roman mythology in which Apollo, the god of light killed an owl because it was making fun of his archery skills. After that, he made the owl the symbol of wisdom.
In most of the Native American tribes, owls are considered to be evil creatures. But there are some tribes in which owls are considered to be helpful and wise animals.
The Hopi tribe of Arizona believes that owls are the guardians of the dead. They also believe that owls can help in finding lost objects.
The Pueblo tribe also has some stories in which owls are considered to be helping animals. In one story, an owl helps a character find his way back home.
Wise Owls in Literature
Owls have also been used as a symbol of wisdom in different literary works. In the book “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets”, one of the main characters, Hermione Granger is associated with an owl named Hedwig.
Hedwig is considered to be a very wise owl as she always helps Harry Potter in different situations. There is also a scene in the book in which Hedwig gives Harry some good advice.
In the book “The Hobbit”, there is a character named Radagast who is considered to be very wise. He is often seen with an owl named Tawny.
Radagast is known for his knowledge of different plants and animals. He is also considered to be a friend of nature.
Why Are Owls Considered a Bad Luck?
Owls are considered to be bad luck in different cultures and traditions. In some cultures, owls are considered to be evil creatures while in others they are considered to be bad omen.
One of the reasons why owls are considered to be bad luck is because they are mostly active during the night. Night time is associated with evil and darkness.
But in reality, I believe there is no single reason why owls are considered to be bad luck. It might be because of the different stories and myths in which owls are associated with evil creatures.
So why are owls considered wise? Well, this is not because of their intelligence but their nocturnality and sharp hunting skills. They have some special features which help them in hunting such as their sharp vision and hearing.
Owls have also been used as a symbol of wisdom in different folklore and mythology. In most of the Native American tribes, owls are considered to be evil creatures. But there are some tribes in which owls are considered to be helpful and wise animals.
So, this is why owls are considered to be wise creatures. Do you agree with this? Or do you know any other reasons why owls are considered to be wise? Let me know in the comments below.