Incredibly Beautiful Birds of Prey
Meet the Owls
True owls (Strigidae) are predatory birds that range in size from the tiny elf owl to the large great horned owl. Most true owls are cryptic in coloration, with a mottled pattern of brown, red, gray and black spots and streaks. This enables these nocturnal hunters to blend into their surroundings during the day.
Barn Owls are silent predators of the night world. Lanky, with a whitish face, chest, and belly, and buffy upperparts, this owl roosts in hidden, quiet places during the day. By night, they hunt on buoyant wingbeats in open fields and meadows. You can find them by listening for their eerie, raspy calls, quite unlike the hoots of other owls.
The Owl's Body
At first you notice their large heads and big, bright, front-facing eyes. The tails are short and the wings are broad; and most of their plumage is a mix of gray, brown, and beige. In addition owls have sharp beaks and talons for hunting.
- Huge, sharp eyes see long distances even at night
- Flexible necks help them spy in all directions
- Large, powerful ear holes detect tiny faraway sounds
- Naturally colored feathers help them camouflage
- Strong wings of soft feathers fly silently for sneak attacks
- Light, hollow bones make flight easy
- Sharp talons and beaks grab and pierce prey (snakes, rodents, birds...)
- Can swallow prey whole and cough up pellets
FROM EGG TO ADULT
- Roosts-nests in trees or burrows underground
- Females lay 2-8 white eggs and incubate them
- Chicks/owlets hatch in about 3-5 weeks
- Males hunt and feed the family
- At 1 month downy chicks grow feathers and can fly and hunt
- At 4 or 5 months chicks can live on their own
- In ancient times there were fearful owl superstitions.
- Owls have been hunted for sport in many countries.
- Chemicals and polluted water make owls sick.
- Lumber companies and builders chop trees.
- People now know owls control rodent
and insect populations.
- Laws today protect owls from hunters.
- Now there are conservation groups and
nature preserves to save some species.
- People find owls interesting to study.
2. A group of owls is called a parliament, but they're not British.
3. Large owls can live nearly 30 years in the wild.
4. Owls can even hear small animals underground!
5. Most owls mate for life.
6. People who stay up late are called "night owls."