I always look for any excuse to share this picture. It’s the day my bff and I lined up a bunch of barn owls on our living room sofa and took photos and giggled at their hair and the irony. And it was totally okay because we were rehabbing them (legally I might add) at the time. We’d named them Dawkins, Freud and Einstein. Einstein’s in the middle.
Barn owls. They are not smart. When I was younger owls were a symbol of intelligence. We’ve all heard of the saying ‘wise old old.’ It’s rubbish. Sorry.
Owls have got eyes and an ocular system that’s so darn huge and complex that it takes up pretty much ALL the space in their heads leaving almost no space for a brain. Their brains are tiny and capable of very little power beyond, ‘catch that mouse and live another day.’
In the epic tie-die photo, these siblings are clearly at different stages of development. Just look at Einstein’s hair! When barn owls lay eggs, they do it over a long period and lay an egg every few days or so. Within one clutch, you can have babies who are almost ready to fly sharing a nest with pink squirmy things that haven’t opened their eyes yet. It makes sense, after all a female barn owl can’t carry 10 full sized eggs at the same time, so she produces one, then another and another. Result? An awkward middle child or seven sitting on a tie dyed couch somewere.
And you know how I have a lot of respect for super-adaptable animals who have managed to survive just about anywhere on the planet and under any conditions Earth throws at them? I’m thinking waterbears here, but barn owls work too. You find them on every continent except Antarctica, and as we ruin our home and that warms up, I’m sure that barn owls will thrive there as well.