That useful little Owl

The fact that the little owl is useful to peasants in ridding their grain fields of mice, which often bring famines by a sudden vast increase numbers, only confirmed the owl as a symbol of the Immortal Maid. These little screech-owls may have protected other crops from mice beside grain, the olive for instance, which might explain this little owl pictured on ancient coins.

In Germany its names are many, Kauz is commonest, but corpse-bird, corpse-hen, death-owl, sorrowing mother, indicate the superstitions to which its nocturnal habits and startling cry have given rise. In Austria one of its names is little Witchzl suggesting a certain fondness for it on the part of the people. In Germany the Eulen-flucht is a triangular left in barns near the attic to permit owls to enter and destroy mice.

In Austria, Greece and Italy they are commonly tamed and turned loose in gardens with clipped wings in order to keep down numbers of insects, slugs, birds and mice.

Updated: January 19, 2014 — 12:59 pm

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