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Why Owls?

Therapy Owls

Many clients wonder why owls have been chosen to represent this clinical practice. There are so many good reasons, not the least which is they are beautiful and majestic (and played an important role in the Harry Potter stories!). With spectacular vision, hearing, and flying ability, owls are excellent navigators in the dark. They are beautiful symbols of therapists who help others find ways out of their darkness.

We’ll give you a few good reasons why we like owls here, and maybe you will have some ideas of your own. We’d love to hear them! We would also love to see your artwork,  writings, or music about owls.

Digging more deeply, however, we’d like to share the following thoughts about owls:

  • There are about 200 species of owls, found all over the world. While they are all different in shape and size, they share the qualities of being mostly solitary nocturnal hunters to adapt to their environments.
  • Owls are fierce defenders of their homes and their young. Owl parents often are monogamous and may remain together for many seasons, working together to raise chicks until they are ready to be on their own. In some situations where a biological parent is not present, other adult owls might help out with raising the young.
  • Some owls are migratory and travel long distances over the year. Others prefer to remain in place, getting to know their community intimately. Which of these approaches describes you and your family? Do you move a lot (by choice or work), or are you deeply rooted in one place and community?
  • Owls appear in symbolism and art, suggesting they are wise and, likely due to their stealthy night hunting, have insight into situations that others can not see. They are often associated with courage, independent thinking, and observant listening. They also may be associated with learning new things. For some people, owls may have a more mystical or spiritual symbolism. Do your family traditions or beliefs include any stories about owls?
  • Owls play an important role in their ecosystems. They are silent and accurate hunters of small rodents, amphibians, reptiles, bats, insects, and birds, completing a cycle of life that includes seeds, plants, flowers, insects, and the creatures that feed on them. Sometimes it is difficult to understand how important predators are in the web of life – but they play a valuable role in keeping their ecosystems balanced.
  • Did you know that the way their feathers are designed, almost no one can hear owls when they are flying? It’s amazing to imagine these huge, graceful birds winging between trees in the Virginia forest at night.  What kinds of owl behaviors have you observed? Here in Williamsburg, we often can hear Barred Owls calling to one another at night.

Madeline Vann & Kathy Atanasov

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