To some, the owl is a harbinger of bad news. If a person should encounter one of these winged predators during the course of their day or night, bad luck will surely follow.
The only time that portent could be possibly relevant is if a person should suddenly find themselves transformed into a rodent, bird or rabbit.
With acute senses, these birds of prey hunt with unrivaled accuracy. Their eyes are capable of capturing enough light that even though you literally can't see the hand in front of your face, they can see the buttons on your shirt. Their ears are situated on their head in such a way that the roundness of their face acts as a sonic dish allowing them to hear the slightest of rustlings on the forest floor.
The wing tips of an owl are softened allowing them to fly soundlessly. As their wings push the air downwards while in flight, their wing tips lift and dump the captured air in such a way that no sound of their flight can be intercepted by their prey.
I have had many encounters with owls. On one occasion, a barred owl swooped down and took the hat off of a fellow paddler while we were traversing a small pond. I may have incited the owl to do this by mimicking the owls territorial call. The winged predator decided to show us who was in charge.
The reaction of my friend dumped us into the shallow water and after the shock wore off we laughed until our sides hurt. I am sure the owl watched the entire show.
Laying within your tent, your head cushioned by a pack or pillow and your eyes scanning the nylon walls which seem illuminated by the darkness of the forest night. Your ears will reach out instinctively and scan the forest for sound. If you are lucky, you will hear an owl call out into the night. A soft sound which echoes through the forest and resonates off cliffs and trees. It will enter your consciousness and instantly propel you into the primitive world to which we once belonged. Call back as best you can, you may be answered. This time the owl will answer from very close by indeed, for this bird is territorial and will investigate even the worst of imitations of it's call.