Birds of the Bible – Owls

Owls are an interesting species. Most of them are nocturnal, so we don’t see them very frequently. At least I don’t see them, but since I like to stay up late, I have heard them at night. Sometimes they are thought of as wise and drawings are made of them with glasses. Maybe that is because they have such huge eyes in respect to their head size. God has given them great ability to see at night with more rods than cones in their eyes that help gather light. They do not move their eyes up and down or side to side as we do, but instead move their head. No, they do not turn it all the way around. They can turn it 270 degrees though.
When owls fly, they are swift and silent as they hunt for prey, such as small animals and rodents. Their wings were designed to give them stealth. Their hearing is very sensitive and they can locate prey even if there is very low light. The sound of an owl can be “eerie” or of a “hoot” or “screech” sound.

  • There are at least 222 owl species worldwide.
  • There are 19 species here in the continental U.S.
  • The Elf Owl is the smallest in the world. It is 5.75 inches and likes the desert.

  • The Great Horned Owl is our largest in the US. It is 22 inches. They are also the only known predator of the Bald Eagle.
  • The little owl, owl, and big owl are mentioned in scripture.
  • The owls are in the “unclean” list. Lev 11:16-17, Deut 14:15-16

Here is an interesting quote from Wayne Blank’s Birds of the Bible. “Some insects and other creatures wear a disguise which actually frightens birds away. Most small birds are afraid of owls, and one insect has a clever way…the owl butterfly has large ‘eyes’ on its wings.”

The destruction of Babylon in Isaiah 13:19-22 mentions the owls that inhabit the deserted or wasted area. In comparing verse 21, it was interesting how the different Bible translations described them. Here are a few examples: “full of doleful creatures” (ASV); “hoot owls” (CEV); “ful of great Owles” (Bishops); “howling creatures” (ESV); the KJV, NASB, and NKJV all call them “owls”; and the MSG has “vacant houses with eerie night sounds.”

Other references to owls are found in Isaiah 34:11-13, Jeremiah 50:39, and Micah 1:8.

In Isaiah 43:20 the beast of the field, dragons, and owls honor the Lord because he has given water in the wilderness and rivers in the desert to provide drink for them. The next verse tells of his people giving praise. This brings to mind the hymn, Fairest Lord Jesus

Fairest Lord Jesus! Ruler of all nature!
O Thou of God and man the Son!
Thee will I cherish, Thee will I honor,
Thou, my soul’s glory, joy, and crown!
Fair are the meadows, Fairer still the woodlands,
Robed in the blooming garb of spring:
Jesus is fairer, Jesus is purer,
Who makes the woeful heart to sing.
Fair is the sunshine, Fairer still the moonlight,
And all the twinkling starry host:
Jesus shines brighter, Jesus shines purer,
Than all the angels heav’n can boast.
Beautiful Saviour! Lord of the nations!
Son of God and Son of Man!
Glory and honor, Praise, adoration,
Now and forevermore be Thine!

I have really had a difficult time deciding what to put in this blog. There were so many good items to choose from.

Long-eared Owl with yellow-orange eyes from Germany

Two articles from Creation Moments:

Parents Who Are Wise as Owl

Calculating Owls Article – Calculating Owls Audio

Funny Owl and the Water Sprinkler

5 thoughts on “Birds of the Bible – Owls

  1. I have wondered for several years why we seem to have so many owls around our land. As best I can determine from experienced bird watchers, on our land in our dry tropics landscape of Townsville Australia we have the Barn Owl, Southern Boobook Owl, Barking Owl and Frogmouths which are related to owls. Our landscape is tall open woodland which receives rain for about 4 months of the year Jan to Apr, and is called the wet season. For the remaining May to Dec, this is the dry season when little rain falls if at all. Currently at this time of the year, our grass is becoming crunchy and the landscape will be come much drier before the next wet season. I have lived here for 18 years and have long wondered why I have come to this dry place when I so love gardening. It really seems like I have come to live in a very dry place for a purpose, a desert experience away from surburbia and the city. Since reading your paragraph I am heartened that the owls honour the Lord for giving them water in the desert. I see now I should do the same and thank the Lord for bringing me into a quiet place where water is always an issue and a talking point with local people.


      • Hi Lee, I met Ian years ago at seminars and walks when there was a government program for a couple of years called Naturesearch. I haven’t met him since, but I know he is a very active birder, who I think lives in Townsville. Townsville is in the dry tropics but within 100 km of the wet tropics to the north. Some wet tropics birds are blown down here during cyclones and others come down in search of food in the aftermath of cyclones as all the flowering trees are devastated for months or years after the cyclones strike further north. In the dry seasons, the dry climate birds come from the much drier region out west, in search of food and water. Hence Townsville and in particular Oak Valley where I live (25 km south west) is in a cross over zone and we have a higher diversity than usual.


  2. The videos were great as well as what you wrote in your blog.

    I was trying to find out the significance of the owl as I was trying to study the Word to prepare for a speaking engagement in June on “Who we are in Christ.” Sometimes I will hear them at night or even see them on the way to work (they’ll fly low across Hwy 101). I’m in Tillamook Oregon on the Pacific Coast living in town and at 0700 one was somewhere outside hooting. I asked the Lord what is the significance of this and I decided to do some research. Your website as well as several others came up. Thank you for sharing the videos….they are incredible.

    Now as to the significance, I’m not sure but I’m still asking the Lord about it because things like this just don’t happen without a reason (for some reason this hooting owl was brought to my attention during this time). They are definitely one of God’s awesome creations!



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