My nephew was having a Harry Potter birthday party and I was in charge of the cake. I had recently acquired a Williams-Sonoma Build-a-Bear cake pan (which I believe they've already discontinued,) and had used it a couple of times.
To make this Hedwig the Owl Cake, I imagined the owl inside the bear cake. In other words, by cutting off the ears and nose, and then smoothing the legs down into a tail shape and then turning it around so the front is the back, the bear became an owl! Even the arms of the bear, which came down and curved forward, became the wings as they then came down and curved backwards.
I baked the recipe from the bear pan box (increasing the amounts by 1/3) so that it would be a nice dense cake for standing up. (It's quite a delicious recipe!) I assembled the cake as directed, then shaved off the parts as described above. I did a crumb coat of white butter cream frosting, then made feathers by piping on with a leaf tip.
I piped somewhat in patterns, especially around the eyes, and I also piped in some feathers in dark gray, especially in the wings, as a snowy owl would have. I gave it some nice yellow eyes and added feet using a fat round piping tip and adding dark gray claws. It sat atop a small bit of covered cardboard and I propped it up using cut off plastic straws embedded in the base cake. (This actually didn't work well, because in transport the front supports gave in and the whole owl tried to take a nose-dive. Repairs were required and the feet were basically ruined. It would have been fine without a trip in the car, but better engineering was required for what we expected of this cake.)
Anyway, the base cake was frosted in Gryffindor colors and I added a pair of black Harry Potter glasses and a wand, both made ahead out of fondant.