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Scientifically Accurate and Correct Ornament Design

Snowy Owl Wire On Ornament {The Tree Topper (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)}

Scientifically Accurate and Correct Ornament Design

Most people don’t give it much thought. Is this ornament scientifically accurate? When discussing elves, fairies, and flying reindeer it is not often a consideration. But when an ornament represents a real object, human figure, or animal it does matter in some cases and to some people.

I once overhead a shopper comment about a partridge ornament being displayed in a showroom. She informed the salesman that the body proportion was not right for a partridge. As I am no expert on birds, I would not have noticed such a discrepancy. When I look at an ornament my first consideration is from an aesthetic perspective. How does it look? Do the colors match and fit in with an overall theme? Do the surfaces (glossy, matte, etc.) look okay? Is this in style, outdated, or timeless?

Then I consider the quality of the ornament. Are there defects? How detailed is it? Are there visible seams? Next would be ornament placement on a tree. Is it in the right spot?

Now I ask the question is the ornament scientifically accurate and correct? The answer may not matter all the time. Even if artistic license allows some liberties, knowing a bit more is interesting and helpful.

Take for example this photo of a snowy owl wire on ornament. The ornament is called a snowy owl because it is modeled on snowy owls, a real type of owl that have very white feathers and black spots or bars lining their wings, back and belly. Artistic license is taken, specifically with the eyes, likely for aesthetic and financial reasons. Most people would like a happy and friendly owl in their home, not a predator on the hunt which is what owls are. And custom designing and manufacturing eyes, for example, exclusively for snowy owls would likely add to the cost.

With the recent popularity of owl ornaments, often generic if not removed from reality with the use of glitter and painted in vibrant jewel tones, it is useful to differentiate between them. “No, not the neon purple and pink owl, I like the natural looking snowy owl perched on the tree.”

This is not just an owl ornament, it is a snowy owl. It adds context and depth to a tree. It brings harmony to the display of a winter scene and allows for interesting conversation on the topic. “That is a female snowy owl. The males are all white. Their white feathers allowing them to hide in their arctic habitat.”

And I do like this snowy owl. While mass produced, it has more of a handcrafted feel as opposed to the manufacturing line feel of the glittery neon emerald, pink, purple, and aqua ones found in the sales bin at Target. Not that there is anything wrong with such bling. But when I think of owls I think of forests and the woods behind my parent’s home where I grew up. Natural, peaceful, and full of life.

Geek Factor

The Snowy Owl is the heaviest owl in North America, and has the second largest wing area among North American owls. They are found living in the Arctic tundra, open grasslands, and agricultural areas in regions reaching from the northern limits of the United States, throughout the entirety of Canada, and in Siberia.

Snowy Owl (Bubo scandiacus), The Aviary at
Snowy Owl (Nyctea scandiaca), National Geographic

  • Diane Nielson

    where is this owl purchasable from?

    • Diane, this specific owl would be available from your local Christmas and specialty stores. Locally owned gift shops, florists, home & garden, and seasonal stores (those that sell swimming pool supplies in the summer and Christmas decorations in the winter) and sometimes larger chain stores carry items like this. Some online stores may sell the item as well. I’m sorry I cannot be more specific about this specific owl. I suggest you search online for “snowy owl ornament” to find a similar ornament, if not hopefully this exact one.