Thursday, November 21, 2019

A Gathering of Great Grey Owls

A Gathering of Great Grey Owls collage by June Anderson of Under The Plum Blossom Tree, handcut vintage paper collage, vintage handcut paper collage, Great Grey Owl collage, Strix nebulosa collage, habitat loss Great Grey Owl, mystery of Great Grey Owl, endurance of Great Grey Owl, childs view of Great Grey Owl, aestheticising the Great Grey Owl

Friends, once upon a time the owl, also known as the bird of darkness, was mysterious, ominous and associated with wisdom. Featured in the art, literature and culture of many different peoples around the world, the symbolism of the owl had a deep connection for those who were searching for the meaning of life through storytelling. That connection helped to satisfy the human need for explanations about human origins, social relationships and beliefs. And while all that may still be true, the health of the various owl populations has been and is suffering from human intervention and habitat loss.

For example the biggest threat to the Great Grey Owl (Strix nebulosa), above, is timber harvesting. The Great Grey depends on trees for nesting, raising their young, food, and for protection. In addition, livestock grazing in meadows reduces the rodent population, their preferred source of food. While the Great Grey Owl has few natural predators, poisoning by rodenticides, collisions with vehicles and disease all take a toll on the population.

In considering these culturally historic and environmental aspects of the life of the owl I have found that my artistic emotional response to the plight of these fragile creatures has resulted in a desire to aestheticize them. Through the medium of collage I am able to elevate their status in a manner that can draw attention to their plight. I have to confess that my inner child believes that this Great Grey Owl, adorned in pink roses which partially conceal her baby owls, wants to tell me her stories of predicaments, difficulties, and survival, and of the brave things she must do to sustain her life and that of her young ones. And in my imaginings I am in awe at her unwavering courage, fearlessness and ability to endure.


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