Why Is the Owl Considered Wise?

The owl is not a wise animal. For its size, the owl has a small brain, and in fact, is not as smart as geese, crows, and ravens.

However, from ancient times, people have used the owl as a symbol of wisdom. The very serious look on the owl’s face might have given people the idea that the owl was wise. It has large, bright, wide-awake eyes that point forward. Its long lashes and upper eyelids close over its eyes.

The owl cannot move its eyes from side to side in their sockets, but because they do point forward, they can change focus very quickly from near to far objects. The owl’s eyes can focus on individual objects instantly. This is an adaptation which helps the owl in its hunting activities. But it has nothing to do with wisdom.

Although the owl cannot move its eyes, this bird can turn its entire head completely around and look behind it without moving any other part of its body!

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

6 thoughts on “Why Is the Owl Considered Wise?”

  1. The response that owls have ben associated with wisdom since ancient times isn’t an answer to why they are a symbol of wisdom. Also, stating that owls look methodical is rather subjective.

    The origin is from Greek mythology, where Athena, who was associated with art and philosophy, was depicted in owl-like bird-form. Hence, the picture of an owl was equated with the patrons of high thought.

  2. most ppl think that owl is wise i thought so too until reading this…very interesting! :)

  3. this is good but i would like to know the ACTUAL size of an owls brain. like in inches or centimeters or whatever? yeah. its for an english project. i need the info. kay? kay. byee

  4. I think the writer has missed the point. Silence is wisdom. It has nothing to do with intelligence. The owl is a silent solitary bird. It knows how to be quiet and sit still until it’s time to move. I think that is wisdom at its best.

  5. @Jackie

    That’s not really wisdom. Wisdom is the ability to act and think using prior knowledge, however Owl instincts are ingrained in it by birth, as are other animal instincts. Thus owls are not wise, and are also one of the least intelligent birds. P.S. I’m not trying to insult owls, just telling facts

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