Sunday, February 9, 2014

The Weekly MUSE: Owls

The first book in the series...

I have just begun reading The Guardians of Ga’Hoole by Kathryn Lasky, and I’m incredibly inspired by her muse: OWLS!

I’m so inspired that I've decided to share this MUSE with you!

With who?

With you?




Okay, enough owl humor.

Ladies and gentlemen, we’ve found our MUSE, and it’s sure to be a HOOT! (Okay, no more, hehehe.)

While reading the first book of the Ga’Hoole series, I was intrigued that the author creates kingdoms in which her owl characters live. Unfortunately, the antagonist of the story wants to conquer all the owl kingdoms, which creates a great good versus evil story, don’t you think???

Take a look at the trailer of the movie that the first three books were made into. This will give you a good idea of this epic story.

Exciting, huh?

Sadly, a real-life owl battle is taking place in the Pacific Northwest’s “Old Growth Forest Kingdom”. For centuries the Spotted Owl has called these forests their home, but a new owl is threatening their existence. Take a look.

So, will the two species be able to work it out? Makes me wonder if this is how Kathryn Lasky got her idea to write the Ga’Hoole series.

Where I live in Indiana, there are no Spotted Owls, but there are Barred Owls. And here, the Barred Owls are the ones who need to watch their backs. Why?

Well, Great Horned Owls hunt, kill and eat Barred Owls in the Midwest. No wonder they are fleeing to the “Old Growth Forest Kingdom” two-thousand miles away. Sounds like an epic story to me!

The Great Horned Owl is noted for its tufts of feathers that appear to be "horns".
Photo by: Contemplicity

Other owls WHO live in Indiana are the Screech Owl and Barn Owl.

Screech Owls are small owls that prefer to life in the hollows of trees.
Photo by: Zach Welty

Soren, the protagonist of the first six Ga’Hoole books is a Barn Owl.

Barn Owls like to build their nests in barns, hence their name. To me, they kind of look like aliens, especially in the face. What do you think?

Barn Owl
Photo by: Eric Kilby

Before I leave you to create your own EPIC owl stories, here are some quick OWL facts:

1.      There are 19 owl species in North America.

2.      Owls hunt at night, which makes them nocturnal.

3.      Owls cannot move their eyes like we can, but they can turn their necks almost ALL the way around, 270 degrees.

4.      Owls are closely related to hawks.

5.      Owls and hawks are raptors, otherwise known as birds of prey.

6.      Owls cannot digest the bones and other “hard pieces” of the animals they eat. Their gizzards collect and squeeze this matter into “owl pellets” and are coughed up kind of like how cat’s cough up hair balls.

7.      A group of owls is called a parliament. How hoity-toity is that?

8.      Harry Potter’s owl, Hedwig, is a Snowy Owl. Snowy Owls are AMAZING. Take a look!

With this new knowledge, what kind of story could you write? Maybe these what if questions will help you get started.

WHAT IF you told the story of a Spotted Owl that saves his species from extinction in the “Old Growth Forest Kingdom”?

WHAT IF your main character collects owl pellets? What if he/she finds one the size of a loaf of bread? What kind of owl coughed up that???

WHAT IF your main character is an owl who has escaped his captor, an evil wizard? Why does the wizard want him? How does this owl overcome this evil Wizard?

The possibilities are endless, and please leave your own what if questions in the comment section below. I’d love to see what you come up with.

So, grab a pencil and a piece of paper, and let’s begin. With your imagination, we can go anywhere. I look forward to seeing where you take us.

With Imagination,
Professor Watermelon

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