Suggest Edits
 Owlet Athena

Photo added by Donald Greyfield

Owlet Athena

  • Birth 5 Jun 1850
  • Death 1855
  • Burial Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, Greater London, England
  • Plot Display Case
  • Memorial ID 12679276

Unusual Pet. She was the devoted companion and pet of famous British nurse Florence Nightingale. This little baby Owl (Athena noctue) was rescued by Florence after a fall from its nest at the Parthenon in Athens, Greece. She was in the possession of some Greek youngsters, who were tormenting the infant hatchling. Her nursing instincts came into being as she fed and trained the owl to enter a cage giving it the moniker, Athena after the Greek goddess. Soon it would perch on her finger to receive its daily meal and afterwards bow and curtsy on whatever object was nearby. Athena began travelling everywhere, safely lodged in the pocket of Florence. The bird became famous as her trademark, but infamous as well...the fierce expressive bird used its long, sharp beak to peck intrusive human visitors. While preparing for departure to the Crimea for war nursing duties, Florence, placed the owl in the attic of her residence thinking she would be safe while providing her a means for food while ridding the space of mice. Alas...the trained and domesticated avery was literally forgotten then found dead due to her inability to function without her mistress. Broken hearted, Florence delayed her departure and arranged for the services of a taxidermist. The mounted Athena remained at the family residence until her own death, then displayed for a time at Claydon House in Buckinghamshire, residence of wealthy sister Parthenope, author of the book, "The Life and Death of Athena an Owlet." The mounting became the property of Age Care, an elderly care charity, which also owned "Lea Hurst," the family home of Florence Nightingale. Its "Trust" had loaned the mounting to the Florence Nightingale Museum for display purposes. Lea Hurst and its many Nightingale artifacts were put up for sale. Fund raisers held in the UK garnered enough money to purchase the owl as well as many other artifacts. It will now remain permanently at St Thomas Hospital, 2 Lambeth Palace Road, London, location of the Florence Nightingale Museum.

Bio by: Donald Greyfield





How famous was Owlet Athena?

Current rating:

122 votes

to cast your vote.

  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Originally Created by: Donald Greyfield
  • Added: 14 Dec 2005
  • Find A Grave Memorial 12679276
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Owlet Athena (5 Jun 1850–1855), Find A Grave Memorial no. 12679276, citing Florence Nightingale Museum, Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, Greater London, England ; Maintained by Find A Grave .