Owls are one of the most fascinating and appealing species of birds and are particularly popular with pensioners who like small ornaments, use notelets or embroider their own oven gloves.

The UK’s native owls include the long-eared owl (so called because it appears to have long ear tufts), the tawny owl (so called because it likes to drink port) and the eagle owl (so called because it’s very good at golf).

Although owls are widely seen as a symbol of wisdom, very few have produced seminal works on religion, politics or moral philosophy, and in many societies and cultures, their iconography is entirely different.  For instance, in New Zealand, they are generally associated with good fortune (owls of delight), in America, with country and western music (the Grand Owl Opry) and in France, with musketeers (owl for one and one for owl).

Despite being most active at night, owls generally do not make successful burglars, security guards or lap dancers, although some barn owls have been specially trained to serve in kebab shops, while little owls (so called because they resemble fictional New England women) have proved adept at babysitting and air traffic control.