Why are Brownie leaders named after owls?

Owls feature widely in guiding, particularly in the Brownie age group. In the Brownie story the one person who could explain where to find the Brownies was the Wise Owl. In the story two messy children go to the woods to find a helpful Brownie to help their mum tidy the house, guided by a Wise Owl. As the owl is so helpful to the children, Brownie leaders have been named after owls ever since.

Pre-1968,  Leaders were warranted as a Brown Owl or a Tawny Owl, and the titles were used universally (other than in those countries where owls either weren’t found, or had a bad press). Since then the title has been optional, but many units find it useful to continue the theme, as it gives a name which is less formal than Miss/Mrs/Ms, but not as informal as first-name terms.

Leaders might be called Brown Owl, Tawny Owl, Snowy Owl…. And at one time senior trainers of Brownie Leaders were called Eagle Owls. We have heard too of some modern-day owls being called Pepperoni Owl, Choc Owl and Ginger Owl , as the Brownies chose the names !!!! We love the twist on tradition, led by the girls themselves.

The story has been modernised since it was originally written, but it is an important part of Brownie history.

Click on the picture below to read the current full Brownie Story, or if you would like to watch a version of the story, click on this YouTube link.


Hidden Nature! 

What are owl pellets?

Pellets are the undigested parts of what a bird has eaten. They are produced by many bird species including all types of owls. As owls mainly eat shrews, mice and voles, which they swallow whole, their pellets often contain the bones and fur of these animals. You can see this by gently pulling apart the pellets. To identify what animal the bones came from, measure them and compare to known samples.

Click on the picture to learn how to dissect the pellet and identify the bones.

Link to video on how to dissect an owl pellet

Enjoy! It’s fascinating!

Now try another activity related to birds.

Bird badges – Kim’s Game

How good are at identifying birds?

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