This section is from the book "The Balance Of Nature And Modern Conditions Of Cultivation", by George Abbey. Also available from Amazon: The Balance Of Nature And Modern Conditions Of Cultivation.
This far too scarce bird is sometimes classed among the winged vermin, but we think very unjustly, though some gamekeepers aver that it may occasionally take a young pheasant or rabbit, yet admit that the amount of good the owl does by destroying mice and rats should preserve it from persecution. Besides, it should be remembered that the owl is a night bird, and when it is abroad the young birds should be safe under the hen. Landowners, sporting tenants, and some keepers protect owls as far as possible. Contrarily the poultry-keeper, often not knowing one kind from another, is not so merciful, every bird in the shape of a hawk or owl being shot if coming within range of his coops. What for? The bird-stuffer ! Museums must have specimens, cases of stuffed birds must grace dwellings of the well-to-do, and gratify the tastes of indoor ornithologists, even to the depicting of ladies' hats.