- “I am known for my inspiring rhetoric.”
- ―Owl in the Winnie the Pooh trailer
Owl is an anthropormorphic owl that first appeared in Disney's animated short Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree. Owl's character is obviously based on the stereotype of the "wise old owl", though his "wisdom" is sometimes questionable.
Owl is considered by most to be the smartest resident of the Hundred Acre Wood. He is known for talking about his many relatives and tends to tell long, drawn-out stories, often involving his various relatives, which bore the others. Though Owl is indeed an intellectual, his intelligence is somewhat questionable, as well is his ability to read, as twice he misread messages from Christopher Robin and believed the boy was in danger, causing unnecessary worry in Pooh and friends, and sometimes even almost getting them killed.
In the 2011 incarnation onwards, Owl is portrayed as an egotistical, pretentious, and obsessive character. He's often heard making comments along the lines of "I'm far too important...", and views himself above the rest of the Hundred Acre Woods gang. Even so, he's still well-meaning and does his best to use whatever intelligence he holds for the happiness of his friends. Even so, like the others, he lacks common sense and above average intelligence, as seen when he misread Christopher Robin's letter, and again when it's revealed he was responsible for the disappearance of Eeyore's tail, believing it was a bell-ringer.
Owl is, as his name would suggest, an anthropomorphized owl, with light tan plumage on his underside and brown plumage on his head, tail, and back. His three-taloned feet are also brown. He has a short tuft of white feathers just under his beak, somewhat resembling a beard. The area around his eyes is a slightly lighter shade of brown. His eyes are black with pale yellow sclera, and his eyebrows are dark brown. Owl's beak is yellow.
Owl first appears in the segment Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree. He is seen with Christopher Robin as the boy is attempting to fix Eeyore's tail, and gives his opinion that the tail needs to be moved to the right. Later on, he notices Pooh trapped in Rabbit's door. He decides that the situation needs to services of an expert, which turns out to be Gopher. But when Gopher wishes to use dynamite, Owl refuses. When Pooh is finally able to be removed, Owl is one of the characters to help pull him out.
In Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day, it is revealed that Owl lives in a small house located in a tree top. Pooh comes to visit him to wish him a Happy Winds Day. However, while the two are visiting, the strong winds blow over Owl's tree, damaging his home. After noting that Owl's home cannot be repaired, Eeyore offers to find him a new one. In the meantime, Owl begins telling a long story about a relative, with the narrator noting that he spoke: "from page 41 to page 62." In the midst of the later flood, Owl makes his way to Christopher Robin's home, the only area not under water. When Christopher Robin finds Piglet's message for help, he sends Owl, who can fly, to tell Piglet that help is on the way. Owl finds Piglet floating on a small chair. To calm Piglet, he begins speaking of another relative, completely oblivious to the fact that the two are about to go over a waterfall. At the end of the segment, Eeyore finds a new house for Owl, which turns out to be Piglet's. However, Piglet selflessly gives Owl his home and goes to live with Pooh.
In Pooh's Grand Adventure: The Search for Christopher Robin, Pooh, Piglet, Tigger, Rabbit, and Eeyore go to Owl to read them a note from a honeypot that Christopher Robin left Pooh before he mysteriously left and Pooh accidentally got honey all over the note. After Owl gets the honey off the note, he reads the note wrong and says that Christopher Robin has gone to a place called Skull (really school), which is a faraway and forbidden place. When Pooh and the gang decide to go on a quest to rescue Christopher Robin, Owl draws them a map and says that they'll face dangers along the way including Heffalumps, Woozles, Jagulars, and the scariest one of all - the Skullasauraus. Owl then sings the song "Adventure is a Wonderful Thing" and sends Pooh and the gang on their quest and he salutes them. It is later revealed that Owl told Pooh and the gang where to find Christopher Robin; at Skull, they must find him in the eye of the Skull. Towards the end, Owl is seen one last time flying over Christopher Robin saying, "Thank goodness. You got him."
In The Tigger Movie, when Tigger looks for his family of Tiggers, he and Roo go to Owl for help finding them, to which Owl suggests that Tigger should find his family tree. Tigger follows Owl's advice. Later on, when Roo decides to write Tigger a letter from his family, he gathers Kanga, Pooh, Piglet, and Eeyore at Owl's house and has Owl write the letter. After each individual gives their own message, Owl finishes the letter with, "Wishing you all the best. Signed, Your family."
The next day, when Tigger shows the letter to his friends, he tells them that his family of Tiggers is coming to visit him tomorrow. Roo then decides that he, Owl, and the others should dress up as other Tiggers and act as Tigger's family, to which they do. When they arrive at Tigger's house dressed up as his family, everything goes according to plan until Roo accidentally bounces into Tigger's closet, causing his mask to fall off. Tigger pulls off all of the others' masks, including Owl's, which makes him mad, and he leaves to find his real family.
After Tigger is found, Owl, Kanga, and Christopher Robin show up and they manage to explain to Tigger that they are his family by reciting what the letter said. In the end, Tigger gives his family a party and gives Owl a yo-yo for a present. Owl then along with the others gets a family picture taken with Tigger so Roo can put it in his heart-shaped locket that Tigger gave him as a present.
In Piglet's Big Movie, when Piglet goes missing, Pooh and the gang go to Owl's House to ask Owl if they've seen him to which Owl tells them that he's seen Piglet many times and that he just passed by. As Owl starts to talk about his Second Cousin Rupert, Pooh and the gang sneak off, to which Owl continues to talk, not even noticing that his friends have left. Owl then appears in the story about finding the North Pole, to which Owl joins Christopher Robin, Pooh, Piglet, Tigger, Kanga, Roo, Eeyore, and Rabbit on an expedition to find the North Pole.
On the way, Pooh, Piglet, Roo, Kanga, and Tigger get separated from Christopher Robin, to which Christopher Robin remains with Owl, who starts talking about his family again. When Christopher Robin and Owl find Pooh and the gang, Christopher Robin sees that Pooh has a stick in his paws and says that Pooh has found the North Pole which is the stick. Owl and the others all cheer for Pooh, not knowing that it was really Piglet who found the stick and handed it to Pooh.
In the end, Owl and the others throw Piglet a hero party in honor of his bravery throughout the many adventures in the Hundred Acre Wood.
Owl is first seen writing a memoir of his life beginning at the very tree in which he was born. He is then greeted by Pooh and Eeyore who are currently looking for a solution to the dilemma of Eeyore's missing tail. Owl suggests a contest and flies over to Christopher Robin. Christopher sends Pooh out to inform the other residents. At the meeting, Owl suggests a reward to be distributed if one was to find the tail or a decent replacement. A jar of honey is deemed the prize and the search for replacements begin. After several failed attempts, Owl provides Eeyore with a chalkboard labeled "Tael".
Just as Owl accepts the jar of honey, Pooh arrives with a mysterious message from Christopher Robin. Owl interprets the note as a distress call as Christopher has been kidnapped by a creature Owl spotted not too long before, a creature known as the Backson. Rabbit comes up with a plan to capture the beast by luring it into a pit using toys, games, books, and other things Backsons enjoy as bait. Owl joins the friends but they all accidentally end up trapped in the pit themselves. Though Owl has the ability to fly, the group is too absent-minded to realize.
With no hope of escaping, Owl decides to recite his memoir to his friends. Pooh spots the jar of honey at the top of the pit, he creates a latter using the book's text. Owl and the others then make their escape. When they're freed, Christopher Robin appears and explains that he was only in school for the day. The gang then look at Owl in anger, and the latter quickly flies off. Back at his home, Pooh visited to ask for honey and notices Eeyore's real tail being used as a bell ringer. Owl didn't notice his bell ringer being Eeyore's tail until Pooh came about and gladly gave the bear the tail. Owl and the others then reward Pooh with a massive honey jar in gratitude for recovering Eeyore's tail.
Owl makes a cameo in Mickey's Once Upon a Christmas. During the "Mickey and Minnie's Gift of the Magi" segment, Owl is seen in the crowd listening to Mickey play his harmonica and watching Pluto dance along to the music with a child.
In Welcome to Pooh Corner, Owl is portrayed by a person wearing an adult-sized puppet costume. Here, Owl is usually seen wearing glasses. When flying, he is sometimes seen wearing a pilot's hat and scarf, and when he takes off, a plane engine can be heard. Owl is also shown to have a love for cooking. Owl's theme song in the show is called "Responsible Persons."
Owl appears regularly in the animated series, though he is considered a secondary character. Owl is shown to live in the same tree house that was seen in the film. Despite not appearing as often as others, he does feature prominently in a few episodes. In the episode "Owl Feathers", the gang believe that Owl is going bald after they find a pile of feathers. It is later revealed that the feathers were not Owl's, but were from Christopher Robin's pillow because Pooh and Christopher Robin had a pillow fight the previous night. In "Owl's Well That Ends Well", Owl is revealed to be a terrible singer, though he himself doesn't realize it. However, Rabbit comes to appreciate the singing, as it keeps the crows out of his garden. In "My Hero", Tigger becomes Piglet's servant, due to a policy stated by Owl that when one is rescued, the rescuee must serve the rescuer as a form of repayment.
Like always, Owl often talks about his relatives, and several appear in the show. He has a younger cousin named Dexter who appears in the episodes "The Bug Stops Here", in which he is babysat by Pooh, and in "Owl in the Family", alongside Owl's Great Uncle Torbett and Aunt Ophelia. In the episode "Prize Piglet" Owl reveals that his Uncle Albert once raced from Albania to Zanzibar. Overall, Owl appears in a total of 29 out of 82 episodes.
In the television special, A Winnie the Pooh Thanksgiving, Pooh and the gang prepare a Thanksgiving dinner to which they all bring something of their own for dinner. Owl, in particular, brings biscuits from a recipe that was passed down to him from his Great Uncle Torbett. Owl has a role of preparing Thanksgiving dinner like all the other characters. Rabbit gives Owl the task of washing dishes.
Owl appears in The Book of Pooh, in which he owns a lot of books and turns his house into a library so that Pooh and the others can come and borrow them if they like. Owl is also seen giving advice to Kessie about knowledge and wisdom.
Owl regularly appears alongside Pooh and his friends as guests in the TV series House of Mouse. For most of Owl's cameos, he is seen sitting with Professor Owl, Vernon from Sleeping Beauty, and Archimedes.
Owl helps Sora while he is in the Hundred Acre Wood with advice on mini-games and how to find more Torn Pages.
In the first Kingdom Hearts, Owl functions as the narrator and tutorial guide in the 100 Acre Wood telling Sora when he needs to find more pages, giving him help with mini-games, and overall just providing instruction. Though at times he will talk to other characters such as Pooh or Tigger.
In Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, Owl is part of the challenge to find Pooh's friends. He is seen flying overhead.
In Kingdom Hearts II, Owl plays the same role as he did in the first Kingdom Hearts title providing Sora with instruction. But unlike the first game, he plays more a role in the story of the world.
Owl makes a brief non-speaking cameo near the end of the gameplay for The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh while watching Piglet, Roo, and Eeyore throwing Pooh's presents in a big bag.
An animatronic version of Owl can be found in all versions of the attraction The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. During the Blustery Day sequence, Owl is seen in his rocking chair after his home collapsed. He is also seen in the large storybook murals.
In France, Owl made live appearances as a walkaround character during the stage show, Winnie the Pooh and Friends, too!
- Owl can spell his name (albeit like "Wol") and the word "Tuesday" (so that you know it isn't Wednesday), but his spelling goes all to pieces over delicate words like "measles" and "buttered toast". His spelling weakness is shown in Winnie the Pooh and a Day for Eeyore when Owl tries to write "A Very Happy Birthday with love from Pooh" but instead writes "Hipy papy bthuthdth thuthda bthuthdy".
- He can also read, but only if no one is looking over his shoulder. Although in plenty of other projects, the other characters are perfectly literate.
- In the Winnie the Pooh stories by A. A. Milne, Owl lives in a tree known as The Chestnuts, located in the middle of the Hundred Acre Wood and described as an "old world residence of great charm" which is grand enough to have both a door-knocker and a bell-pull. That house is blown down by a storm in the eighth chapter of The House at Pooh Corner. Eeyore eventually discovers what he believes is the perfect new house for Owl, apparently without noticing that it is actually Piglet's house. Nonetheless, Piglet offers the house to Owl, and he presumably moves in. Owl made a sign indicating that he planned to call his new house "The Wolery".
- Unlike most of the book's original cast, the illustrations of Owl look more like a live animal than a stuffed one. This idea is also supported by Rabbit's comment to him: "You and I have brains. The others have fluff." In Ernest H. Shepard's illustrations, Owl appears to be a head shorter than Pooh, and a little below hip-height to Christopher Robin. He is sometimes but not always drawn wearing reading glasses. When the illustrations show him writing, he holds the pen in his talons, not with his wing.