New Artwork – Ian Rogers – a Jury of Owls
Another collective noun – today, a Jury of Owls. My regular list of collective nouns has no entries under “J” but by going down some online rabbitholes I came across a satirical dictionary from 1923 by Elbert Hubbard, “The Roycroft Dictionary and Book of Epigrams” with the entry, “Jury: 2. A collection of sedentary owls.” While this might not be a legitimate collective noun per se, it does appeal to my sense of poetry. The more typical collective noun is “a parliament of owls”.
In Ancient Greece, owls were associated with Athena, the Goddess of (among other things) Wisdom. This is why, to this day, owls are depicted as wise. In France, eared owls (hiboux) are considered separately from earless owls (chouettes) – only hiboux are considered wise. In South Asia all owls are considered foolish. Could be worse, though – in many parts of the world, owls are associated with death, and even classical writers like Pliny, Virgil and Ovid depicted them as bad omens.