Owls, Oaks and Graveyards

Owls, Oaks and Graveyards

Sunday, February 15, 2004
| 1 Corinthians 15:12-20

Biologists are discovering that cemeteries, protected from development and human activity, are frequently home to rare species of life. This is good news for everyone, including those who find themselves going through a “cemetery” time of life.

Owls and cemeteries.

You might not think of them as being connected, but they’ve been together for a very long time. For centuries, the call of an owl has been linked in mythology with the end of life, and Native Americans have considered the owl to be the bird of the shadows, the darkness, the night - it has been, for them, the messenger of death.

In the British Isles, pagan Celts believed that owls were able to communicate with the dead, and their presence in cemeteries has long been seen as a sign of this supernatural ability.

This is spooky stuff, for sure. But the close connection between owls and graveyards is really no myth at all. Fact is, many owls live in the cavities of trees, and old trees in cemeteries often have the largest hollows. In parts of densely populated India, there is one place you can go to find rare owls: a cemetery. Graveyards that shelter the last of the big trees with large cavities are life-saving sanctuaries for endangered owls.

Cemeteries, it turns out,...

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