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For some reason, they've ended up as cute fluffy things in popular culture (thanks Etsy and Anthropologie!)
ghow fledgling_2982

And okay, they are kind of cute and fluffy sometimes.  But to anyone who is actually cute and fluffy, these eyes mean trouble.

ghow_4749 eyes

You eyes are probably drawn to the owl's eyes, or the alert "ears", but ignore this Great Horned Owl's giant talons at your peril.

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The "ears" aren't really ears, they're just tufts of feathers that create that appearance.  I don't know why so many owls developed this look; perhaps it helps break up the appearance of their face and help them blend into the tree trunks where they perch.  Maybe it gives them a cat-like appearance to warn other birds not to bother them while they're sleeping, but I think looking like an owl is probably sufficient to scare anything.

More staring, more scary talons, but somehow the Long-eared Owl looks a little less dangerous.  Maybe that's how owls' images get softened.

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OK, it's probably the Barn Owls' fault that people think owls are cute.  I guess it can't be helped.

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No - must resist!  Scary birds!!  Owls = danger, not fluffiness!

DSC_1294

Still, hard to get the threat vibe going with these two Burrowing Owls.

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These two know they can't intimidate based on size, so I guess they're trying for a "Street Tough" image.

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It's harder to think of a bird as intimidating once it's crossed the meme barrier though.

coffee owls

(It's not impossible though - I still think of Coopers Hawks as intimidating even though they are meme stars.  That may be because I happen to know the bird personally... and Dawn Choristers knew her before she was a star.)

And speaking of stars, Hedwig made these guys a lot less scary to most people.  A vole feels differently about it though.

DCP_5673

I think I'll end with double trouble...

1877 ghow pair 3

Originally posted to lineatus on Sun Aug 17, 2014 at 06:00 AM PDT.

Also republished by Birds and Birdwatching and Shutterbugs.

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