Changing Perceptions

Being in the right place at the right time to photograph a baby owl in its natural habitat was certainly fortunate, but I had no idea how much his little bobbing head would bless my life.

I was careful and quick and he was watching me as I expected he would. I just had no idea why he was moving his little head around so much. When I came home, I searched for answers on the internet hoping to better understand owl behavior. Several queries and many pages later, I knew much more about these amazing creatures but it was the reason for the head bobbing that stayed with me.

Owls are the only birds that have both eyes on the same plane. This gives them a wider range of binocular vision than most birds. Seeing things with both eyes together gives them the ability to see in three dimensions making it particularly effective for judging distance and position. The eyeballs are fixed and cannot move around inside the socket so it becomes imperative for the owl to move his head in order to see beyond a specific field of vision. To make up for this, the owl can turn its head up to 270 degrees left or right and almost completely upside down. They have extraordinary night vision and some researchers believe that owls see better in bright daylight than humans. They possess highly sensitive, directional hearing and it is said that they can pick out the sound of a mouse eating beneath leaves or in an underground burrow.

So why the head bobbing?

In spite of all the incredible ways their senses help them stay alive, they move their head around in a bobbing fashion to give them a slightly different view point so they can more accurately interpret what they are seeing. They are making sure that their initial assessment is correct. Changing perspective gains better depth perception and allows for pinpointing a precise location.

I wonder how many times in our initial assessment of something or someone, we get it wrong? How many times have we trusted in our own understanding of a situation, only to find out later that we were missing vital game changing information?

The scriptures talk about being ‘stiff necked’ and now I haveĀ a whole new way of thinking about that phrase. Maybe if we moved our head around and looked at things from someone else’s point of view, changed our perspective a bit, we could understand with more compassion. Maybe when we come across someone whose life is turned upside down we’ll try better to see what they see so we can help with a kinder heart. With all the incredible gifts that we are blessed with every day we should view the world in a better light. That might be hard given the troubles we face, but we can change our assessment to a more positive one. See things differently. Gain greater depth of understanding instead of assuming we have it right the first time.

Every time we take a second look, we increase our capacity for insightful knowledge. Click To Tweet

This guides us to become better human beings because each tiny change in perception matters.

In folklore, the owl is considered one of the wisest of animals. His advice and counsel is greatly sought after because he sees things as they really are. Owls do not make snap judgments in the familiar stories of our youth. Instead, they remind us to keep our eyes open and see with clearer vision how to simply be better.