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Bet you owl didn't know ...

Sorry, sports fans, I'm carrying out on my threat to compare Allen & Ginter owl cards. If I don't do it, who will?

Owls have been a traditional A&G subject since the original sets in the 1880s. The card above is from the 1888 A&G Birds of America set (no, it's not mine, yes, I should look into collecting these).

A&G, I think, was the first card set to feature owls, at least according to TCDB. There was a Beautiful Birds of America set in 1886 but they didn't consider owls beautiful apparently.

Since the A&G reboot in 2006, an owl hasn't appeared on a base card but keeps popping up in insert sets.

This is owlie's first arrival in the 2010 A&G set, as part of the National Animals mini insert theme. It flew in all the way from the Dominican Republic for an appearance.

The next time owls appeared in A&G was five years later in the Birds of Prey mini insert set. I made certain I found those owls. There are three of them.

There are 10 cards in that set but the others aren't owls so that's all I wanted.

Topps stayed away from the owl theme until this year's set. It devoted a full-sized insert set to Birds With Giant Flesh-Ripping Claws. Awesome!

OK, so they're called "talons" and the set uses a title with some dumb word play (kind of like I'm doing with this post title) -- "Talon-ted".

There are also three owls in this set. Let's see them.

Hmmm, so they used two of the owl kinds that they used in the 2015 set, only the snowy owl is new. But that's all right, how many owl species are there?

Come on, Topps, I need a Christmas Boobook on a card.

With similarities between two of the cards eight years apart, I had to check the backs to make sure somebody wasn't lazily repeating information.

There's a little bit of repetition here but the 2023 cards provide more information so that's nice to see.

Topps makes sure to get "storybooks" in both descriptions but the 2023 card has that key information about how Horned Owls can move their heads 180 degrees. Spooky.

Finally the backs for the burrowing and snowy owls that are original to their respective sets. (I had to look up ptarmigan -- A&G keeps you learning).
I'm up for another A&G insert set with owls as long as there are no repeats next time. Topps can always consult the poster on my wall if it needs ideas.

I don't necessarily collect owl cards, although I do have several others that people have sent me. I'll add one if it speaks to me -- the card, not the owl, although if there is a talking owl card, I want it.

So that's enough words about owls, probably far more than most readers want to read. But this is another curiosity satisfied and that's what this blog is for on a lot of days.


Owl's well that ends well.
Matt said…
Johnny took my line, but it was still a hoot to read.
Nick Vossbrink said…
I do love the bird cards. This reminded me though how Spanish has two word for owls. Buho are the owls with "ears" while lechuza are the ones without.
Jeremya1um said…
Owls are cool. My son likes them and has a bunch of owl stuffed animals and an owl calendar.
Burrowing owls are my favorite. Some of the zoo shows on tv have parts with owls and it’s fun to learn information about them and then visit the zoos and see them in person.
Vrooomed said…
About 15 years ago, the local farmstead here in upstate NY put on an owl program that we took our approximately 5-year-old son to. I was more interested in going than he was. I love birds (have had a few domesticated ones over the years), and owls have always been a favorite of mine. They are absolutely beautiful creatures. We also had a local rehab aviary visit us while our son was in Cub Scouts and they brought an owl that flew low between the scouts. I did get to give that one a few head scratches (which it enjoyed). Always enjoy a blog post that combines my interests.
Fuji said…
Thanks for the reminder. I have another owl for you (hope it's not a duplicate). Anyways... even though you don't necessarily collect them, your collection is a much better home for him/her than mine.
Doc Samson said…
Rush’s Fly By Night album cover always gives me a “jump scare” in a good way. Thanks, Mr. Owl.
Grant said…
Haha, Christmas boobook. I saw a barbed owl on a light pole near the Mississippi River the other day, very cool.
Bo said…
I'm impressed Topps used different photos of the owls when they had new cards of barn and great-horned. They don't even do that for the baseball players much of the time.
Jon said…
That first card is really great. I don't collect bird cards, but I can now see myself trying to get a copy of that one at some point.