“A wise old owl sat on 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?”
Collecting bird feathers is a hobby that has been with me since my pre-teens. These feathers are placed gingerly in my antique hand-woven American Indian basket, and are treasured keepsakes. Gathered throughout my years of horseback riding and hiking, each feather is treasured for not only its beauty but for how it once adorned each and every bird.
The variety of feathers ranges from birds such as my pet Cockatiel Max, to majestic peacock feathers. Among the dozens of feathers in my basket, the most cherished feather is from a Great Horned Owl. This large flight feather is rich brown in color with tan highlights. The soft, comb-like feather enables the Great Horned Owl to fly silently while hunting its prey. Though this feather may appear dull in comparison to my peacock feathers, it’s the fact it’s from an owl and the owl character I cherish.
We’ve all heard the saying, “wise as an owl”. The saying as well as his reputation goes back as far as Native American and Greek mythology. Maybe the owl got his well-known reputation because of his most famous feature. Those large golden eyes framed in black, as though he is wearing eyeglasses, and his stern stare gives one the idea of a wise old bird. There’s much more to this bird than meets the eye.
This cryptically colored stealth bomber of the night has proven his smarts and wisdom through his hunting technique of first listening, looking, and only then reacting to what he has learned. Unlike his only predator, man, he listens, looks and learns. This technique has allowed the owl to survive for centuries and proves how smart he really is compared to man.
Listening – Looking – Learning. A concept most humans cannot afford to ignore. The owl is wiser than we ever believed possible. Maybe, just maybe, if man would follow this wise old birds listening, looking, and learning technique, man could be as wise as an owl.