lizbrownlee – poet

Poems, animal info, extraordinary women, my books!

F is for Fearful Owl

Lars Petersson

This excellent and very rare photo of a fearful owl was taken by Lars Petersson, and appears on his very interesting birdwatching and photography blog.

The fearful owl, with its white eyebrows and lores (down the sides of its beak) which make a prominent ‘X’ on its face, and attractive, ochre colouring and black streaks, is endemic to and only found in the Solomon Islands and Bougainville in Papua New Guinea.

They eat mainly phalangers (a type of arboreal marsupial) introduced into the Solomon Islands in prehistoric times, and are thought to have previously lived on giant, arboreal rats that are now very rare.

These large (15 inch) owls are solitary and mysterious – not much is known about them, and reading every website I can find, information ranges from the rudimentary to the possibly fanciful (they eat their own feathers, which is more likely than the fact that they live more than 100 years, growing all the time, and are practically immortal).

They get their name from their cry, which is a loud, feminine scream, repeated every 10 seconds, growing in volume and intensity.

The fearful owl is rarely seen and it is classed as Vulnerable by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, mainly due to loss of and degradation of its forest habitat.

Here is my fearful owl poem – in the face of fanciful facts about this owl, my poem is rather less truly informative than usual!  Below that, a Youtube video of the owl, showing just how distinctive its facial markings are.


Fearful Owl


Please tell me now, oh fearful owl,

your wide, round eyes agleam

under your white and furrowed brow

why do you scream and scream?


I scream because I am alarmed

it’s not enough to sigh –

my forest’s trees are being harmed,

that’s why I cry and cry.


© Liz Brownlee



Information from:

Birdlife International.


Planet of Birds.

The Website of Everything.

Image by and © Lars Petersson, on his blog, used by permission.

Poem © Liz Brownlee,

Prose and Poem © Liz Brownlee, all rights reserved, not to be used in any manner whatsoever without the permission of the author.

If you’d like to visit another A-Z Challenge blog, please click on the logo at the top of the right hand column.




  1. This owl is so funny looking but yet so cute. Your poem just really hits home…I love it


    • Thank you, Birgit – it’s such a handsome bird, and yes, really lovable-looking!


  2. It looks more surprised than fearful, but if its cry is like a girl’s scream ….


    • Imagine if they lived here, Lizy – we have two owls behind us, but if they were screaming like a girl I think I’d be seriously disturbed!


  3. ana salote

    As always your poems and commentary say so much. They inspire with wonder and then there’s the body blow of how much we have to lose and are losing by the hour.


  4. What a fabulous bird and lovely poem too I’m going to watch the video later.
    (We have both featured endangered birds on our blogs today, but your photo is far, far better than mine!)

    Susan A Eames from
    Travel, Fiction and Photos


    • Thanks, Susan. You took your photo yourself, which is so much better! However, I do go to extreme lengths to get the best representation of the animal for my poems – in this case the bird is rare and the creative commons photos were very poor. Luckily Lars gave me permission to use his fabulous photo. I think it does look fearful, which might be another reason for its name!


  5. The owl is my spirit animal at the moment, so this post really pulled me in. The picture is great and the poem is very moving.

    Thank you for your visit to my blog, have a great A to Z!
    Sylvia van Bruggen


    • Thanks, Sylvia, I’m glad it was perfect for you! Have a great A-z too!


  6. Awww. How can you not love an critter with such big eyes? Owls are so beautiful.


    • Hi, Tamara, aren’t they! Big eyes and the ability to turn their heads almost all the way round…


  7. They are a lovely bird and wise apparently if they are able to live so long. Thanks for sharing about this rare species.
    Im blogging from Fill the cracks and Moondustwriter’s Blog. Happy A to Zing!


    • Hello, thank you, moondustwriter, I’ll be along to see you soon!


  8. Wow, nice poetry! I haven’t written poems in such a long time. I love birds and especially the imagery of owls. Thank you also for the brief lesson and great photos.


    • Thank you, wolf of words! Owls are among a=my favourite birds.


  9. Who knew such a fierce predator as the owl could be “fearful”? Thanks for sharing this info and poem. 🙂


    • I know – it’s probably anthropomorphism, though!


  10. jmh

    Oh your poem is so sad! Lovely, but sad.

    I adore owls. My favourite is probably the snowy owls we have up here in Canada, or the wee burrowing owls. So cute. We had a great horned owl right in our backyard last winter–that was pretty incredible.


    • Hello! I adore snowy owls – we visited Canada once, for a couple of months my husband who is a film editor came to edit a film about bears in the cascade mountains, we lived with Jeff and Sue turner the wildlife producer/directors there. it was a truly fabulous time – and one morning when I came out of the house, there was a tiny owl right in front of me on top of a post! It was the cutest thing.


      • Oh – forgot to say we visited burrowing owls in the Okenagen? Valley, and saw them.


      • jmh

        That sounds like an amazing experience! We do have some adorable owls around here.

        Liked by 1 person

      • It was! 🙂


  11. What a sweet picture. I love that owl face! Love your poem too.
    Happy A to Z’ing!
    Trisha Faye –


  12. This is great–read this with my 5-yr-old again. He had an owl-themed party for his last birthday. A local raptor outreach program brought a great horned owl, an elf owl, a peregrine falcon and a red-tailed hawk!


  13. I love the poem – very touching.
    This is a great theme idea for the challenge – combining research with poetry.

    Thank you for stopping by my blog 🙂


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