I remember using the word “Strigidaenian” in a screenplay once. When I mentioned it to a fellow collaborator he literally jumped for joy and proclaimed “Of course! To resemble the form of or assume the characteristics of an OWL!” Good ol’ Jack. Hope he’s reading this.

Since then that word has sort of reared it’s (270°-rotatable) head in a lot of my works. I’m not saying the word is why owls (or owl-like creatures) have become recurring feature in my work, but the realisation that I actually needed a word to vary my descriptions of owls made me somewhat more aware. The real reason owls are a big part of my fiction goes back a very long time, and is actually a series of interesting stories.

How about instead I leave you with a fact on the humble Strigidae? The reason their heads must rotate so far is because their eyes are fixed in their sockets. If they want to see something, they move their whole head. So it’s the equivalent of you seeing something out the corner of your eye, and it moves behind you. Rather than move your eye, your whole head rotates around BOOM. It’s not a great analogy, because goddammit it’s weird. At some point in their evolution, some DNA just turned to the other and said “Oooh we made a mistake on the eyes there. Shall we fix that?” and the other DNA said “Nah. Let’s just make the whole $*&%$! head move around – problem solved.”

Magic. Sheer feathery-winged magic.

They also don’t all “HOOT”, but we’ll talk about that later.

 

I love owls.