It’s no secret that we at OWL ESG like owls; heck, it’s right there in our name. And what’s not to like?
Owls have excellent vision, particularly for spotting things far distant or in deep darkness, times when few others see clearly. Owls are listeners, adapted to suss their surroundings with acute hearing, even in complete darkness. The owl’s forward-facing eyes, rare among birds, may be why humans feel such a strong connection with them — to the extent where we invest owls with their legendary wisdom. Owls are strong, calm, and of course beautiful.
Beyond the real life qualities of these majestic birds, popular culture has long celebrated owls in memorable portrayals, inspiring generations with their tales. As in ancient myths and legends around the world, through Aesop’s fables, tales of Winnie the Pooh, and many more, to this day owls have been seen as complex characters, divine messengers, and solid friends.
Yeah, we like owls. Let’s meet some of our favorites.
Gruff but kind-hearted, Archimedes is the perfect companion to Merlin in Disney’s Sword in the Stone. The wizard and owl act together to guide and tutor young Wart, who is unaware that he’ll soon be crowned Arthur, King of England. The highly educated Archimedes teaches Wart to read and write and, when the boy is transformed into a sparrow, even to fly. His chronic curmudgeonliness makes his kindness shine all the brighter.
Though recent times have seen this US Forest Service mascot rebooted (literally — nowadays he’s a slender hiker complete with boots), we prefer the classic Woodsy. His unforgettable slogan, “Give a hoot — don’t pollute!” inspired an entire generation to take personal responsibility for their impact on the outdoors. Remember, kids: Never be a dirty bird.
Hoots the Owl
With a warm and gravelly voice based on Louis Armstrong’s, the talented sax-playing Hoots riffed alongside musician guest stars such as Little Richard, the Squirrel Nut Zippers, and Wynton Marsalis, not to mention his fellow Muppets. How cool is that?
Brony alert! Making occasional appearances in the modern My Little Pony cartoons, Owlowiscious is the intelligent pet of the studious Twilight Sparkle. The owl speaks only in hoots, but repeatedly demonstrates intelligence and foresight alongside clear benevolence. Case in point: though Twilight’s friend and assistant Spike initially treats Owlowiscious poorly — even plotting against him — the patient bird assists in rescuing Spike, and the two eventually become friends. And look at him: isn’t Owlowiscious just as cute as a button?
No collection of modern owls would be complete without Harry Potter’s companion, Hedwig. In fact, we bet you already know way more about Hedwig than we do, so let’s just keep things moving here.
Last but not least is Bubo, from the 1981 movie Clash of the Titans. In the story, Zeus causes Athena and Hephaestus to send the mechanical owl to aid his mortal son Perseus in his quests. Bubo’s cheerful burbling vocalization was incomprehensible to all except Perseus, who could understand the owl in perfect clarity. Designed and brought to life by the crew of famed effects master Ray Harryhausen—in particular Steve Archer—Bubo moved and flew through the magic of puppetry and stop-motion animation, capturing our geeky little hearts.
Did we miss your favorite? Tweet us! @owlshares