As I sit in my flat of an evening I sometimes hear the cry of an owl, perhaps in my garden or maybe in the nearby park. It is a mournful and an erie sound but, at the same time his voice is company for those, like me who hear his song.
Folklore is rich with references to owls. In some cultures the bird is seen as a harbinger of death. If an owl flies overhead, during the daytime then someone close to you will die. In Macbeth the owl portends the murder of Duncan by Macbeth “It was the owl that shriek’d, the fatal bellman, which gives the stern’st good-night”.
It is easy to comprehend why owls have (and still are) perceived as harbingers of death. They glide silently through the night sky swooping down to devour rodents and other prey. Death, as in the murder of King Duncan by Macbeth comes swiftly and unexpectedly.
On a lighter note we have that wonderful nonsense poem, by Edward Lear “The Owl and the Pussycat” which relates how those two unlikely companions sail away, for a year and a day to the land where the bong tree grows and are married by the turkey who lives on the hill. As a child I derived tremendous pleasure from the poem and, as an adult Lear still brings a smile to my face.
On the whole I regard the owl as a friend, he (or she) joins with the foxes to create the music of the night (apologies to Bram Stoker)!