It seems many seriously believe that the Owl can help discovering hidden treasure. Such is the level of superstition that a Red Owl is selling from Rs 10,000 to Rs 25,000 in most cities.
Many sacrifice the owl for a variety of reasons. The Tantriks assure the people that they can get rich by sacrificing the Ulloo. The blackmarket for Owl has led to several owl species getting extinct. In forests there are few owls now.
Many believe that as owl is the 'vaahan' (carrier) of Laxmi, the Goddess of Wealth, it can turn your fortune. A friend of mine believes it. Though he cautions that there are several 'vidhaan' and you should be very careful if you keep an owl as a pet in your house because if something goes wrong, the same Ulloo can bring doom to the entire household as it is a bird that lives in 'veeraana' (desolate ruins).
Until a few decades back it was common practice for tantriks (witchcraft practitioners) to prescribe 'owl's meat' to be administered to a particular person for desired results in matters of love. I don't know how common is this but going by the news reports and crowd that still goes to the tantriks, who are now operating from plush offices in cities and advertise in newspapers, I am sure these things still continue.
The India TV showed a special report on the illegal owl market. A tantrik was asked and he affirmed that owl can help you get the hidden treasure. No wonder the owls are disappearing fast. Vultures are already extinct in this country. Crows are less in numbers and almost every bird is threatened due to the insecticides.