Updated: May 17, 2021
I love these feisty little fellas. They can be surprisingly noisy, especially at this time of year, and the pattern of their feathers often makes them look a tad disgruntled. Their diet reflects their size, including a lot of invertebrates, like earthworms, as well as owl favourites small mammals and amphibians. Unfortunately, they are another bird threatened by the upcoming east of Otley development – hopefully you saw Simon Carey’s wonderful photo of one there. The Little Owl is also known as the Owl of Athena or the Owl of Minerva – Roman goddesses and maybe a source of owls’ association with wisdom. Florence Nightingale rescued a Little Owl being tormented by a group of boys near the Acropolis in Greece. She took it home as a pet (obviously not something we’d condone) and it became her constant companion, sitting on her shoulder or in her pocket. On its death she was very upset and had it stuffed – you can see it in her museum.
By Neil Griffin Photo by Pixabay