Burrowing Owl Symbolism and Meaning

brown owl in bokeh photography


The burrowing owl, a small yet captivating bird native to North America, is more than just a fascinating creature. It’s a symbol of wisdom, adaptability, and resilience, deeply revered across various cultures. This article delves into the symbolic significance of the burrowing owl, exploring its cultural, spiritual, and historical meanings.

Burrowing Owl: A Symbol in Native American Culture

In Native American culture, the burrowing owl is a symbol of wisdom and adaptability. It’s often associated with the earth element, symbolizing groundedness and tenacity. The owl’s keen eyesight is seen as a metaphor for keen perception, encouraging individuals to see beyond the obvious.

  • Wisdom: The owl’s nocturnal nature and ability to thrive in diverse environments symbolize wisdom and resourcefulness.
  • Adaptability: The owl’s survival in various habitats represents the need for change and adaptation.
  • Resilience: Despite living in harsh conditions, burrowing owls remain active, symbolizing resilience against challenges.
owl leaning sideway perching on twig

Symbolism in Spirituality and Astrology

In spiritual contexts, the burrowing owl is a powerful totem animal, symbolizing adaptability, resourcefulness, and inner wisdom. Some astrological beliefs associate it with transformation and personal growth.

  • Adaptability: The owl teaches us to adapt to life’s uncertainties and find strength in change.
  • Transformation: In numerology, seeing a burrowing owl could signify personal growth or a need for introspection.

Symbolism in Dream Interpretation

Dreaming about a burrowing owl could signify:

  • Challenges and resilience: You’re facing challenges but can overcome them with agility.
  • Intuition: The owl’s keen eyesight suggests the need to sharpen your inner vision.
  • Transformation: It implies personal growth or a major life change is imminent.

Symbolism in Literature and Media

In literature and media, the burrowing owl often symbolizes wisdom, mystery, and intuition. It represents insight, suggesting hidden truths waiting to be unveiled.

  • Wisdom: Its nocturnal nature mirrors introspection, urging us to reflect deeply on situations.
  • Mystery: Characters in stories or movies often represent secrets or hidden knowledge.

Symbolism in Other Cultures

In other cultures, the burrowing owl is revered for its tenacity and resourcefulness. It’s a reminder to face obstacles head-on with courage.

  • Tenacity: The owl’s resilience inspires strength against life’s hurdles.
Burrowing Owl

Symbolism in Art and Literature

Artists often depict the burrowing owl as a symbol of mystery or intuition. Its appearance reflects deep thinking, while its behavior signifies adaptability in life’s uncertainties.

  • Mystery: In art, the owl represents hidden knowledge waiting to be revealed.

Symbolism in Mythology and Folklore

Mythologically, it’s a bird of prophecy and clairvoyance. Legends say it brings messages from beyond, symbolizing divinity or spiritual guidance.

  • Prophecy: The owl is believed to carry predictions from higher realms.

Symbolism in Feng Shui

In Feng Shui, the burrowing owl represents balance and adaptability. Its presence signifies harmony with nature.

  • Balance: Balance between opposites: It promotes equilibrium amid life’s chaos.


The burrowing owl symbolizes wisdom, resilience, and adaptability. It encourages us to face challenges with courage, maintain balance, and embrace change. These attributes make it a significant totem in various cultures. Its presence reminds us of our ability to endure tough times and stay grounded despite adversity.


What is a Burrowing Owl and where can it be found?

Burrowing Owls are long-legged owls that inhabit open spaces such as grasslands and prairies. They can be found in diverse regions across the Americas, from the Great Plains and desert areas to fields and urban settings. Notably, they are present in states like California, Florida, Texas, and regions including the Great Lakes and Western Canada.

How does the Burrowing Owl behave?

The Burrowing Owl is known for its unique behavior of living in burrows, often those abandoned by prairie dogs or other ground animals. They are active both day and night, and their flight pattern is direct with undulating movements. During courtship, they perform aerial displays and often engage in mutual preening and feeding near their nest burrows.

What does the Burrowing Owl eat?

Their diet primarily consists of insects and small mammals such as voles, mice, and ground squirrels. They also consume small birds, frogs, toads, lizards, snakes, and various arthropods depending on their habitat and the season.

What are the nesting habits of the Burrowing Owl?

Burrowing Owls typically use existing burrows created by other animals but can also dig their own. The burrows are usually surrounded by open ground or short grass. The owls may line the entrance with materials like cow manure, but they do not build traditional nests. The female usually lays between 3 to 12 eggs, which she incubates for about 28-30 days.

Are Burrowing Owls at risk?

Yes, the Burrowing Owl has been experiencing a long-term decline due to factors such as habitat loss, control programs for prairie dogs and ground squirrels, and vehicle collisions. They are considered endangered or threatened in certain regions and require conservation efforts to maintain their populations.

Similar Posts