Owls are some of the most fascinating and mysterious raptors in the world. While many people know a little bit about these birds of prey, some facts about owls can surprise even the most experienced birders.
There are more than 150 species of owls in the world, and some counts indicate more than 220 species depending on how different owls are classified. The greatest owl diversity is found in Asia, and only 19 owl species are found in the United States and Canada.
Owls have been found in the fossil record up to 58 million years ago. The largest recorded owl fossil, Orinmegalonyx oteroi, stood about three feet tall.
Owls have long been cultural symbols and they have been found in cave paintings in France, in Egyptian hieroglyphics and even in Mayan art. Today, owl superstitions associate the birds with bad luck, death and stealing souls in many cultures.
The biggest modern threats to owls are habitat loss, pesticides that poison the birds and their food supplies and human persecution because of negative superstitions. Vehicle collisions, wire fences and even well-meaning birders can also be hazardous to owls.
Here is something interesting about superstitions!
Around Manado, on the isle of Sulawesi, People consider Owls very wise. They call them Burung Manguni. Every time someone wants to travel, they listen to the owls. The owls make two different sounds; the first means it is safe to go, and the second means it's better to stay at home. The Minahasa, people around Manado, take those warnings very seriously. They stay at home when Manguni says so.
Interesting, is in it?