Whoooooooo doesn’t love owls?!
See what I did there?
Owls are intriguing creatures that simply seize the curiosity and a spotlight of everybody, together with youngsters and non-birders. These mysterious and wise-looking birds are distinctive and have many secrets and techniques that most individuals don’t know!
At present, you’ll be taught 15 information about owls that can make your head spin!
And sure, that was one other owl pun. 🙂
Reality #1: There are HUNDREDS of various kinds of owls!
There are effectively over 200 species of Owls, that are damaged down into two households.
Owls belong to both the “Typical” owl household or the “Barn Owl” Household.
You possibly can inform them aside as a result of “Typical Owls” (also called “True Owls”, have the well-known spherical clock face created by the sample of feathers. “Barn Owls,“ then again, have a heart-shaped design of face feathers.
So which household is extra widespread?
By far, the “Typical Owl” household is extra prevalent and contains about 220 recognized species. The “Barn Owl” household has solely 18.
Reality #2: Owls don’t have spherical “eyeballs.”
I do know that is mindless, however please learn this complete part as a result of it explains why and the way owls can transfer their head nearly 360 levels!
So, owls do not need spherical eyes like a human. As a substitute, they’re lengthy and formed like a tube!
Due to this tubular form,
Owls aren’t in a position to transfer their eyes to see in any respect!
And the truth that owls can’t transfer their eyes is the rationale they’ve advanced to show their heads 270 levels and nearly upside-down (with out shifting the remainder of their physique) to see in all totally different instructions!
Their eyes aren’t ineffective, nonetheless!
The distinctive form offers these birds higher depth notion and permits them to see prey from a lot better distances!
The depth of their eyes has one other fascinating aspect impact: If you happen to look in an owls ears, you may see the underside of their tubular eye!
No marvel owls don’t use cotton swabs!
Reality #3: Harry Potter helped make owls well-known!
Owls had been doing simply positive till Harry Potter got here alongside, however the films and books helped shine a light-weight on the numerous distinctive owl species that exist on Planet Earth.
In case you aren’t conscious, within the Harry Potter collection, owls did all kinds of issues. Owls served as a type of communication, delivering letters and messages, however had been additionally thought-about pets and mates.
Listed here are among the totally different owl species that made appearances!
- Snowy Owl (Belonged to Harry, named Hedwig)
- Scops (Belonged to Ron, named Pidwidgeion)
- Nice Grey Owl (Belonged to the Weasley household, named Errol)
- Screech Owl (Belonged to Percy, named Hermes)
- Eagle Owl (Belonged to the Malfoy’s)
Hit the “PLAY” button beneath to listen to a brief, 2-minute podcast from BirdNote in regards to the Harry Potter owls!
Reality #4: Snowy Owls trigger ‘irruptions.’
And no, that was not a misprint. I meant to sort “irruption,” not “eruption.”
Snowy Owls have odd migration patterns, and about each 4-5 years, excessive numbers of owls fly south MUCH farther than ordinary.
These winter invasions are known as “irruptions,” and when it occurs, it’s widespread to see Snowy Owls all around the continental United States. Some owls have even made it so far as Texas, Florida, and Bermuda!
Scientists assume it has one thing to do with meals and infants. Evidently throughout irruption years, lemming populations boomed up on the northern tundra throughout summer time, which meant there was loads of meals for many younger Snowy Owl’s to outlive.
Then in the course of the winter months, all these younger Snowy Owls wanted to seek out meals, so all of them flew south!
Reality #5: Eye shade signifies their time for supper!
Not solely do owls have tubular eyes, however their eye shade additionally offers perception into their dietary habits!
For many species of owls, the shade of their eyes can let you know whether or not that hen prefers to hunt in the course of the day or at evening.
Right here’s what the colours imply:
- Darkish brown or black for strictly nocturnal owls.
- Orange/pink for owls that hunt in twilight hours.
- Yellow for owls who hunt in the course of the day.
Reality #6: Owls have asymmetrical ears.
Asymmetrical signifies that owls’ ears will not be positioned on the identical spot on both sides of their head!
Not solely are they positioned in several positions, however the ears themselves could be two totally different sizes! And don’t fear, hawks and different birds don’t make enjoyable of owls for his or her humorous ears!
An owl’s asymmetrical ears serve an important function.
The totally different sizes and totally different positions give owls the power to pinpoint the place prey is positioned, even when they don’t see it!
When a mouse or different animal makes a noise, the owl will obtain that sound at two totally different instances as a consequence of their asymmetrical ears. Their brains can calculate the precise location of the animal for the owl to get dinner!
Reality #7: Guess what teams of owls are known as?
Owls are typically solitary creatures, however once they group collectively, it’s known as a “Parliament.”
How did they get this title?
Properly, owls have lengthy been thought-about smart, particularly when a bunch of them are collectively. Even in Greek mythology, owls had been the image for Athena, who was the Goddess of Knowledge.
Reality #8: Owls are SILENT when flying!
Owls are ambush hunters, not like their hen cousins (eagles and falcons), which depend on excessive velocity.
Owls fly low, sluggish, and nearly fully silent.
Whereas Falcons have been seen to realize speeds of 200 mph whereas diving to assault, owls can cruise by sluggish sufficient to have a dialog, normally below 40 mph. Though they aren’t quick, they’ve perfected the artwork of sneaking up on their prey.
So how do owls fly so quietly?
First, owls have huge wings in comparison with their physique dimension. These broad wings give unbelievable carry, so that they flap much less regularly, which makes much less noise, and offers them a sluggish cruising velocity.
Second, owl feathers are velvety thick and smooth, absorbing a variety of the sound of their flight.
Third, an owl’s main feathers (the wing feathers that stick out like fingers) have an edge that appears like a comb, which breaks the whoosh of every flap into lots of of tinier whooshes.
Is there a draw back to the above adaptions?
Sure! Owls, can’t fly within the rain very lengthy. To be silent, they don’t have the pure waterproofing that different birds have on their feathers. In the event that they get moist, they’ve to attend till they’re dry sufficient to fly once more.
Reality #9: Owls throw up…loads.
Most birds cannot chew their meals, and owls aren’t any exception. When an owl catches its prey, it would swallow the animal entire.
Nevertheless, not like different birds, owls do not need a crop, an organ that’s used as a holding tank for meals to be digested later. An owls meals goes straight to the gizzard, which is an organ that makes use of digestive fluid to interrupt down animal matter.
Sadly for owls, they’ve weak abdomen acid that can’t digest bones, fur, or feathers. These birds will then vomit pellets full of those leftovers.
Nevertheless, it does makes it straightforward to observe their food regimen and normal well being! If you disassemble a pellet, chances are high you’d have a whole set of bones to construct a mouse skeleton!
I bear in mind attempting to place collectively one in every of these balls of mice that got here from an owl whereas in grade faculty. I had no thought I used to be touching owl vomit!
Reality #10: Owls get divorced.
Though owls mate for all times, Barn Owls divorce about 25% of the time.
The reasoning is to not purchase a extra engaging mate, however moderately one with which they’re extra appropriate.
Divorced males will typically accept a much less engaging accomplice, develop a significantly better relationship, and lift greater households. Divorced females won’t settle for “uglier” males, and so might spend extra time looking out.
The females normally depart once they determine it’s time for a change. Pairs determine when it’s time to separate by making fewer and fewer eggs per brood.
The excellent news for males is that they get the home—they usually will keep on the unique breeding website.
The divorce fee within the U.S. is round 40 p.c, so I suppose owls aren’t doing too shabby.
I ponder how they determine who will get the youngsters?
Reality #11: Owls could be promiscuous.
Hmm…possibly this has one thing to do with the divorce fee?
However severely, throughout years when mice and different meals are plentiful, some normally monogamous owls will get a little bit promiscuous!
Why is that this?
As a result of straightforward prey means much less work for fogeys feeding their younger!
Throughout these durations of “boredom,” males have been caught mating with as much as three females. To not be outdone, females have been seen with at the least one beau on the aspect.
Reality #12: Owls are pure pest management for farmers!
Farmers love owls!
Barn Owls can eat as much as 1000 mice per yr and preserve pests and vermin below management!
Eliminating all these rodents saves a lot of injury to saved grain or nibbled crops.
Utilizing Barn Owls as pure pest management is gaining traction amongst farmers as a means to make use of much less poison and different invasive strategies of pest administration.
Reality #13: Not all owls hoot!
I’m not mendacity!
Some owls make noises like a horse whinny: Jap Screech Owl heard beneath.
Some make sounds harking back to sharpening a noticed blade on a whetstone: Northern Noticed-whet Owl heard beneath.
Even when an Owl does hoot, it’s positively not the one noise it makes. Along with hoots, owls might chirp, whistle, scream, screech, bark, growl, or shriek.
All these totally different noises are usually totally different messages attempting to be relayed. For instance, hoots are normally territorial calls, mating calls, or function a warning to different owls to remain away.
Loud and unsightly screeches are sometimes used when owls really feel threatened or are attacking a predator. At different instances, loud shrieks could also be used throughout mating season to draw a mate.
Reality #14: They’ve been round for a very long time.
The oldest owl fossils are dated 50 to 60 million years in the past!!
The oldest owl on file (Ogygoptynx) lived in what’s now Colorado round 61 million years in the past!
That is across the identical time many dinosaurs went extinct!
Reality #15: Owls have distinctive necks.
So let’s return to that entire “Owls can flip their heads round and the other way up” factor:
Why don’t they die once they do that!? The place do all of the bones go!?
If a human tried to show their head the other way up, blood wouldn’t be capable to get to our mind, and we might die (to not point out we’d snap our neck).
Nevertheless, not like people, the areas in an owl’s spinal column that maintain blood vessels are a lot wider than the blood vessels themselves. This implies there is a much-reduced likelihood of something being pinched closed.
Nevertheless, if that does occur, owls have blood-pooling reservoirs on the high of their spines, which may proceed to provide the top with blood if the provision stops for a short time!
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Did you be taught something new immediately?
Sadly, this text solely scratched the floor. With over 200 owl species on the planet, there are numerous enjoyable information that weren’t listed.
Let’s preserve the dialog going:
Please share one thing fascinating that you realize about owls!