I’ve had a few people ask me, why I named my blog Must Love Owls, and what’s my thing with owls?
So now is a great time to answer it.
Owls are enigmatic. Owls are beautiful, mysterious, intriguing, fierce, spooky and cute.
Thanks to Harry Potter’s pet Snowy Owl Hedwig, kids are more enchanted by owls than ever before, and as much as they are strikingly beautiful, they are also fierce predators.
What’s not to love about a bird that is cute with super tuned-in senses.
Some fascinating facts about owls:
-Owls have reverse sexual dimorphism (when females are larger than males) across multiple owl species.
-Owls can pinpoint the location of sounds in multiple dimensions because of their asymmetrical ears located at different heights on the owl’s head. There’s no sneaking up on an owl.
-Owls can turn their heads around almost all the way, but not quite like ‘The Exorcist.’ Owls can rotate their necks 135 degrees in either direction, which gives them 270 degrees of total movement without cutting off blood to their brain.
-Owls are far-sighted and can spot prey from yards away. But up close, everything is blurry, and they depend on small, hair-like feathers on their beaks and feet to feel their food.
-Unlike other birds, owl flight is silent. Owls make virtually no noise when they fly thanks to special feathers that break turbulence into smaller currents, which reduces sound.
-Owls are not the neatest eaters. They either eat their prey whole or use their powerful talons to rip it into pieces. Both thoughts are equally gruesome. Owls barf up the parts of their prey that can’t be digested, like fur and bones as pellets.
-They prey on their own kind and even larger prey. Owls eat other species of owls, and the Eagle Owl can grab a small deer! Great Horned Owls attack Barred Owls. Barred Owls eats Western Screech Owls. Many attribute owl-on-owl predation as the cause for a decline in some owl species.
-Owls are cloaked in camouflage. The color and marking on an owl’s feathers allow owls to blend into their surroundings. Many owls sleep in broad daylight, but we don’t see them.
-Owls are a farmer’s best source of pest control because they eat many rodents. A single barn owl family will eat 3000 rodents in a four-month breeding cycle. One owl can eat 50 pounds of gophers in a year. Many farmers install owl nesting boxes to rid their land of pests like gophers and voles. Although this natural form of pest control is safer and cheaper than using poison, many owls die each year from eating poisoned rodents.
-Owls and humans have been getting along just fine since ancient times. They appear in Egyptian hieroglyphs and the 30,000-year-old cave paintings in France. Although they’re intelligent and sociable, it’s illegal to keep them as pets in the U.S.
There is much to love about these beautiful raptors, so it’s fitting to name this blog ‘Must Love Owls.’
And if you love owl as much as me, then this might be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
So get outside and enjoy these beautiful birds in nature.
If you want to learn more about these fascinating creatures, download the Audubon Bird Guide: Owls app free on iTunes.