There are roughly 225 known species of owl and many of them can be found in the varied habitats of North and South America.
As in Africa, evidence of owls in the Americas goes back to the dawn of time, with the birds represented in Mayan hieroglyphics.
The Mayans and Aztecs both seem to have regarded the owl as a messenger of death, a belief that still has some currency in south American countries. For instance in some parts of Brazil the sight or sound of the birds is viewed as a bad omen. Conversely, in ancient Peru, the owl was worshipped.
Owls also have a strong presence in Native American rituals, with some species associated with taboo subjects like sorcery, and others elsewhere being seen as bearing the spirits of ancestors.
In the United States, the northern spotted owl and the ferruginous pygmy owl are protected as endangered species due to threats to their habitat. In some areas owl populations are affected by habitat loss caused by logging, urban development, pesticides and diseases such as West Nile Virus.
Here are the American owls that we have at the sanctuary: