The little owl was introduced to Britain in the 19th century it was then known as the 'fierce little foreigner'. As its Latin name implies, in mythology the owl traditionally accompanied the Greek goddess Athene and is often seen a symbol of wisdom.


Little Owls and Humans

The little owl used to be held responsible for the destruction of eggs and young game birds, but analysis of the contents of their pellets proved that this was untrue. Nowadays it is regarded as a useful pest-destroyer in gardens and on farmland.

As with many other animals of all kinds, the little owl population in Britain began to decrease back in the 1960s when organochlorine pesticides were introduced. These dangerous chemicals entered food chains and affected the fertility of predatory animals at the top of the chains, thus reducing their numbers. Since these pesticides were banned, little owl numbers have recovered to some extent and today it is not under any particular threat.  There are an estimated 5,700 breeding pairs in the UK.

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