The tradition of declaring a bird of the year originated in our country ten years ago. Then, in 2006, it became a rare steppe sandpiper - a gyrfalcon. Over the past years, swallows, cranes, starlings, and tits took to the “pedestal” - as a rule, those representatives of the winged fauna who, because of the threat of extinction, are listed in the Red Book.
In their year, birds received special attention, and environmental actions in their support again reminded that birds should be loved and cherished. So, the house owl replaced the house sparrow, the year of which ends.
Among his relatives from the detachment of owl owls, perhaps the most mysterious. What is only the appearance: the gaze of round orange eyes, protruding "ears" of feathers, a curved beak. The wingspan of almost two meters and the weight of about three kilograms inspire respect.
The ability of an eagle owl to twist its head 270 degrees, see in the dark and make eerie sounds always frightened away a person, creating mystical images in his imagination. As ornithologist Yuri Pukinsky wrote, “The voice of an eagle owl is one of the wonders of the night. In terms of strength, depth and the impression made by him in the night forest, there is no equal sound to him. ” But this, perhaps, is all the “horror stories” that characterize our winged hero. In general, this is a very nice creature, harmless to humans. Being a strong predator, it feeds on hares, rodents, hedgehogs, birds, sometimes frogs and even fish, depending on its range. And he has practically no enemies in the midst of fauna. It is enough for the owl to click its beak several times in warning and, without blinking, to look at the enemy, how he will hasten to retreat.
Maybe that's why different peoples have developed a special attitude, respectful, based on beliefs in supernatural powers, prophecy and magic. Many people believe that owls have powers that are not available to other animals, and therefore this bird often accompanies all sorts of healers, sorcerers and shamans.
In Latin, the name of an eagle owl sounds like bubo-bubo, he is a frequent character in fairy tales and legends, in which no one endowed him with any properties! However, most often the bird acts as soothsayers, messengers, carriers of unusual knowledge, and also symbolizes age-old wisdom. The Slavs, for example, attribute to the owls the role of guardian of underground wealth. Among the ancient Greeks, she was the sacred bird of the goddess of wisdom Athena. In India, it was believed that the goddess of wealth Lakshmi was flying on an owl, and Bengalis still believe that prosperity will come to the house if a white owl flies into it.
Owls play a significant role in the beliefs and culture of the Turkic peoples. In particular, among the Kazakhs, the eagle owl - үкі - is a sacred bird, to see it in nature is a good change. However, these meetings today are happening less and less, and the reason for this is “the king of nature” - man. Its vigorous economic activity leads to a reduction in breeding sites.
Even more unfavorable consequences for the bird are related to its totem role. The fact is that from the earliest times the steppes used claws and feathers of an eagle owl as amulets. According to ancient belief, a bird awake at night is able to protect people from evil night spirits. From evil eye and damage used a bunch of feathers. Children's hats, wall tusky, dombra - feathers like an amulet certainly clung to all these objects.
As the doctor of historical sciences Sh. Tokhtabaeva writes in the book “The Silver Way of Kazakh Masters”, the owl was ambiguously interpreted by the Kazakhs. “On the one hand, it is perceived as a representative of the dark forces, and therefore it is considered capable of counteracting negative phenomena, since evil, ranking it as one of its category, does nothing wrong to those who possess it. On the other hand, an owl is deified. There was a ban on hunting totem birds in the everyday life of Kazakhs, but at the same time everywhere in Kazakhstan there were amulets from claws, feathers of an eagle owl. "
Fortunately, today people are less dependent on various religious and mythological traditions, and the law prohibits the destruction of an eagle owl listed in the Red Book of Kazakhstan. In addition, this bird has a fairly wide habitat; it successfully hatches offspring in forests, steppes and deserts.
It is important to make sure that the number of this bird grows, and then there will be more places where you can hear the owl of an owl, see its beautiful flight, where, looking into its magical eyes, you can again experience ambiguous feelings and understand that you are only a small part mother nature, in which all living things are one family.
One of the largest owls in the world. Weight 2.0-3.3 kg, body length 600-750 mm, male wing - 430-468 mm, females - 47.0-52.0 mm, wingspan - 1600-1900 mm. Coloring is predominantly red or buffy. Distinctive features of owls are big "ears" and orange eyes. There are no differences in the appearance of the male and the female. The intensity of the dark plumage pattern is different; thin transverse ripples on the belly and black wide longitudinal streaks on the chest and neck are characteristic. In nature, owls live up to 20 years or more, in captivity - up to 60. Owls are one of the most common representatives of owls in Russia.
The eagle owl's voice is a loud “yep” or “u-guukh”, with an emphasis on the second syllable, which gave the name of this bird in many languages. Most often, this cry is heard in the spring during the mating period of eagle owls, as well as on moonlit and warm nights. In addition to this scream, the eagle owl clicks its beak and makes laughing, shrill sounds that are difficult to convey in words.
Owls do not build nests per se; the eggs lie in a small depression on the ground. Nesting begins early, even with almost continuous snow cover. The interval between the laying of eggs is 2-4 days, the size of the clutch is 2-6 eggs, usually 3-4 eggs. They are white in color, rounded in shape, egg sizes 53-66 x 45-54 mm. The female is busy with incubation, the male provides her with food, “sings” at night and at dusk. An egg is required for an incubation of 32-35 days. The chicks are of different ages, initially dressed in white-buffy down, which is then replaced by a new downy outfit in general of the same color, but with a dense and obscure brown streak. Chicks sit in the nest for about a month, then stay somewhere nearby, trying to climb trees, they acquire the ability to rearch at the age of 50-60 days.
The color of adult birds is saturated, rusty yellow. Dark streaks are almost black. On the head, back and shoulders they predominate. The sizes are average: the wing length of males is 430-470 mm (on average - 453), females 475-520 mm (on average - 485). From the western state borders to the Mezen valley, Vashka, Volga within the Nizhny Novgorod region, to the Tambov and Voronezh regions. The southern border runs approximately along the 50th parallel.
2. Bubo bubo ruthenus
Slightly lighter than the previous one, with a grayish tint. The dark pattern is less developed and has a brownish tone. Brownish spots on wing feathers. The sizes are average: the wing length of males is 430-468 mm (average 446), females 471-515 mm (average 485). From the Mezen Valley, Vashka, Volga within the Nizhny Novgorod Region, Tambov and Voronezh Regions to the east to the foothills of the Urals, the Uzhi Valley, the middle reaches of the Urals. To the north - to the borders of the range. To the south - to the middle reaches of the Don, Lake Manych - Gudilo, the lower Volga.
3. Bubo bubo interpositus
In color, the intermediate form between the two previous subspecies: differs from the first in a more yellowish, less ocher color, from the second in a more saturated, to black, color of variegated. Dimensions are relatively small. The wing length of males is 428–463 mm (average 445), females 468–502 (average 485). From the Carpathians to the Caspian Sea and the coast of Mangyshlak. To the north to about the 50th parallel, to the middle reaches of the Don, to the south - to Transcaucasia and the state border of the former USSR, along the coast of Mangyshlak to the southern parts of the peninsula.
4. Bubo bubo sibiricus
The lightest race. Dark speckles are everywhere strongly reduced, which makes the bird seem to be buffy-whitish. The sizes are large: the wing length of males is 438-465 mm (average 451), females 472-515 (average 492). From the foothills of the Urals to the Ob, to the north - to the border of the species range. To the south - to the 53rd parallel and the foothills of Altai.
5. Bubo bubo yenisseensis
On the whole, it looks more intensely colored than the West Siberian eagle owl, the general tone is grayish with an admixture of ocher. Dark spots are well developed and have a brownish-black color. One of the major races. The wing sizes of males are 443–468 mm (average 456), females 473–518 (average 487). From the Ob to the east to the Lower Tunguska and Baikal, to the north to the border of the species range, to the south to Saura, Altai, Khangai and Kentei.
6. Bubo bubo jakutensis
It is close in color to the Yenisei birds, but in general it is darker and brighter. Speckles are more black, numerous, form more or less regular rows. The sizes are large: the wing length of males is 452-468 mm (average 458), females 480-503 (average 493). From the valley of the Lower Tunguska and the upper Vilyui to the east to the upper Kolyma and the Sea of Okhotsk, to the north to the borders of the species range, to the south to the Udsky Bay and the Stanovoi Range.
7. Bubo bubo ussuriensis
The general tone of the top is grayish, dark spots are small and blurry, so that light areas on the dorsal side are almost not noticeable. A dark longitudinal pattern usually does not extend to the stomach. The wing length of males is 430-465 mm (average 448), females 470-502 (average 483). From Transbaikalia to the east to the ocean coast and from the lower reaches of the Amur and the Stanovoi Range to the state border.
8. Bubo bubo borissowi
Very close to the Ussuri race, but the color as a whole is even darker, brownish. The wing length of males is 465 mm, females 470. Sakhalin. Perhaps this subspecies inhabits the Kuril Islands north to Urup.
Note. Subspecific diagnosis of this race is made on insignificant material. Differences from Sakhalin birds from the coastal birds are insignificant and unstable. And only island confinement to some extent indicates the reality of the subspecies.
9. Bubo bubo turcomanus
The color is faded, dark speckles are pale, as if fragmented, on the abdomen they are practically absent. The sizes are average: the wing length of males is 420-468 mm (average 443), females 470-492 (average 482). From the Lower Volga east to Semipalatinsk, Zaysan and the upper Irtysh. To the north - to the middle reaches of the Ural River. To the south - to Ustyurt, the lower Syr Darya and Balkhash.
10. Bubo bubo omissus
The coloring is typically “deserted,” the ocher-yellow tones faded, the dark patterns on the feathers barely visible. Speckles are narrow, pale, practically do not spread on the stomach. One of the small eagle owls of the domestic fauna: the wing length of males is 402-424 mm (average 415), of females 425-460 (average 445). From the Great Balkhan and the lower Atrek east to Gurkhandarya and Kartfirnigan, presumably to the north to Ustyurt, Amu Darya and Zeravshan. To the south - to the state borders.
Note. In the outlined area of birds living on the coast of the Caspian Sea, as supposedly darker and different in behavior, it is supposed to be distinguished as a special subspecies - B. b. Gladkovi (Zaletaev, 1962) 11. Bubo bubo hemachalanus
It is similar in color to Kazakh birds, dark spotting, general pallor of tones, etc. are poorly developed. However, a dark longitudinal pattern on the lower side of the body also extends to the front of the abdomen. It is noticeably larger than the Turkmen eagle owl: the wing length of males is 443–466 mm (average 451), females 473–508 (average 486). Southern Balkhash, Dzungarian Alatau, Chu basin, Ala-tau ridge, Tien Shan, Alai system. Western Pamir, Kyzylkum to the west to the Aral Sea, in the northern regions, these mountain birds, settling in deserts, mix with the Turkmen.
The use of owls in hunting
An eagle owl can be used as a hunting bird, takes a rabbit and even a hare, due to a noiseless flight it can hunt from ambush or from around the corner for birds, but it is extremely difficult to learn. An eagle owl is a rarity, including due to extremely dangerous bird attacks on the owner with improper upbringing or maintenance, as well as in current.
Hunting with an eagle owl is practiced.
Hunting with an eagle owl, mainly for birds of prey (falcons, hawks, ravens, etc.), is based on the hatred that all birds generally feed on eagle owls, during their spring and autumn migration. For this hunt, a hut is made in a suitable place (or a dugout torn out in the ground with combat windows and a turf-covered roof). In steps 25-30 from the hut, stuffed eagle owls and eagles are installed, sometimes mechanical eagle owls are used, which, if you pull the rope, flap their wings and rotate their heads.