There's a scene in "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy" where Prideaux (Mark Strong) is in the class room teaching, then suddenly an owl pops out of the fireplace. Prideaux quickly dispatches it. Later on, in the same class room, Prideaux is talking to Smiley (Gary Oldman) and we see a stuffed owl on the wall.
That (and the bee scene) always seemed rather random to me. Or am I missing some deeper meaning?