If the eyes are the windows to the soul, then Zeus has the entire Universe within his soul, because his eyes contain galaxies. Zeus’s eyes reflect the very universe we live in — the wondrous starry heavens that shine on every clear night. He is a Western Screech owl, and was rendered blind at a young age. Zeus only has around 10% of his vision, so he cannot be released back into the wild and so stays at the Wildlife Learning Center in California where he receives a lot of TLC.
In fact, they’re the ones who named him after after the Greek god of sky and thunder because of his extraordinary, gold-flecked eyes filled with the beauty of the cosmos.
“In our combined 40-plus-years of working with wildlife, we’ve never seen anything quite like it,” says the team at southern California’s Wildlife Learning Center (WLC), who have cared for Zeus since he was rehabilitated in 2012. “But he’s doing great! He still hangs out in the office with us every day and is otherwise completely healthy.”
His starry eyes are the result of clots of protein and blood pigment, but he also has cataracts. His condition is probably the result of an attack by a predator, but it’s possible he also had a flying accident.
Due to his eye condition, he can’t be released back into the wild, nor can he hunt for himself, so the team at WLC are happy to help out. Zeus gets fed daily, and loves the protein filled menu.
“We have seen people just about taken to tears when meeting this most special little owl,” they say. “It’s remarkable that Zeus’ disability brings so much awareness, sensitivity and concern for not just screech owls, but all types of wildlife, as well as the environment we share. Zeus is truly an ambassador … he’s a joy. It’s not just a responsibility for us to care for him, but a privilege.”
Interesting bot of information: There are some native American tribes who believe that owls are said to carry messages from beyond the grave or deliver supernatural warnings to people who have broken tribal taboos. And in the Aztec and Mayan religions of Mexico, owls served as the messengers and companions of the gods of death.