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Owls are a hoot! By Sherrie Versluis

The great horned owl’s “horns” are actually tufts of feathers. W

hen people think of owls they usually think of magic and wizards, or movies such

as the Harry Potter series. Movies and television often project owls to be evil, frightening creatures that dwell in forests. Therefore, people are often surprised to see owls within the city but it’s not uncommon. Those who live in older, mature areas of the city and especially near rivers and creeks should certainly know that owls live among them. In most cases, owls are thought of as being wise and the bearers of great

8 • Beautiful Gardens 2014

knowledge but many native Ameri- can tribes see it differently. Ojibwa people see owls as a symbol of evil and death but also as a symbol of high status among their

spiritual leaders.

Pawnees view owls as a strong symbol of protection and the Sioux believe the owl possesses powers not found in other animals and therefore wear their feathers as protection against negative forces. In Japan, too, owls have mean- ing: homes are adorned with owl figu- rines to ward off famine and epidemics. Myths and stories apart, there is no denying owls are beautiful and amaz-

ing birds. There are many species of owls found throughout Canada includ- ing eastern screech owls, northern saw- whet owls and mightiest of all, the great horned owl. The great horned owl is one of the

most powerful in the world of owls. These amazing predators are very common and nest throughout cities and even in some people’s back yards! They are described as 18 to 27 inches in length with a wingspan of 40 to 60 inches. Females are larger than males and can weigh anywhere from three to 5.5 pounds.

Photo by Peter Manidis.

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