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The owl is a nocturnal bird of prey, known for its silent flight, distinctive "whooo" call, and large, front-set eyes.

In medieval bestiaries and literature, the owl is often given an unkind treatment, associated with darkness, ruins, and graves.

From Chaucer, The Squire's Tale:

In which were painted all these false fowls,
As be these tidifes, tercelets, and owls;

Owls get a more fair treatment in later period. From a 17th century drinking song that is also a popular SCA madrigal:

Of all the birds that ever I see,
The owl is the fairest in her degree.
For all the day long she sits in a tree,
And when the night comes away flies she.

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