If I was to ask you who was king of all birds, what do you think you would say: the royal swan, the majestic eagle, or maybe even the magnificent ostrich, (I mean come on, they are the biggest after all)… hang on, what about the condor!!?
Well, there is a very old European fable in which after a cut-throat selection a bird was actually crowned the 'king of birds'. The story tells of a competition amongst the winged creatures to see who could fly the highest. He who could reach the loftiest heights would claim his crown. Birds not being shy creatures, there were many contenders - a day to remember for the ancient twitcher. It may come as no surprise that the eagle - naturally geared up for such a task - caught the air thermals with his broad wings and soared effortlessly above all the other birds. It looked as though the eagle had it in the bag, but unknowingly to this proud raptor, the whole time he had been ferrying a stowaway. Before he got to do his victory barrel roll, a cheeky little wren peeped out from under the eagle's feathers. With just a few flaps of the wing the wren went on to climb just that little bit higher. And so it was that the official adjudicator of the day, allegedly a wise old owl, declared the wren the winner.
Naturally the eagle was furious, and the fable goes on to turn quite sour, with the eagle taking out his violent revenge on the canny wren. The injuries inflicted are evident in the wren's stumpy raised tail; and from that day on our little hero always has to fly close to the ground, for fear of bumping into his old competition rivals he so masterfully outwitted. A small price to pay to acquire the esteemed title of 'King of all birds'!
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With the exception of artists, inventors, and teenagers - we humans are diurnal daytime creatures on the whole, and although it’s one thing to be out and about during the night in a street lit urban environment, it’s a very different scenario if you find yourself in, say… oh, I don’t know, a forest per se. Where, if you’re lucky, you may hear the unmistakable cry or hoot of an Owl: natures very own nocturne, a stark reminder of the unknown peril of night, and a creature that has featured heavily in myth and folklore throughout the ages.