Owls are fascinating and beautiful birds we rarely get to see up close and personal. Owls come out at night in order to avoid competition over prey with other large birds. This alone says a great deal about the owls’ personality.
Owls like to creep in the shadows, remaining hidden and discrete at all times in order to stay safe as well as catch prey. It certainly helps that they have incredibly silent wings, and the ability to sit very still for long periods of time.
It’s not easy to find all of the owls in these pictures. If I didn’t know I was looking for an owl in some of these photos, I would miss them all together thanks to their incredible camouflage.
Owls have vivid coat colors that help them remain hidden depending on the environment they reside in. Owls come out to hunt and fly during the night, but they are still around during the day time. An owl might be right next to you and you wouldn’t even know it. They blend into trees, leaves, and other things using their camouflaged feathers and a great deal of patience.
Owls like to use leaves as a way to keep cover, places with thick leave coverage often host a few hide away owls, watching and waiting for nightfall to arrive.
Owls are never one solid color, which makes them harder to see at night because not one color stands out. The feathers that sit on the top of their head also helps hide them because it distorts their silhouette or shadow.
You will notice many of these owls have their eyes closed, all in order to keep their eyes from giving them away.
Some owls don’t reside in trees but instead burrow under ground. There are many different types of owls, over 150 unique species to be exact. These birds populate every continent except Antarctica.
Owls have forward-facing eyes, meaning they have binocular vision just like you and I. You may also notice owls have distinct sets of ears, all the better to hear you with my dear! Owls rely on their incredible sense of hearing to help find prey when eyesight alone isn’t enough.
Owls are carnivores, but ironically some of their favorite feasts use camouflage to hide from sneaky Mr. Owl. Many farmers purposely attract owls in order to keep down the mice population; one barn owl consumes around 1,000 mice per year! Besides mice, owls also enjoy other small and medium sized mammals, fish, insects and even other birds.
Owls eat their food whole, the bones, teeth, fur and other non-digestible parts are formed into a hard pellet that the owl later regurgitates. These pellets offer scientists an interesting look inside the dietary needs and habits of owls.
Talk about girl power, female owls tend to be the larger and more aggressive gender.
Just because you don’t hear a hoot doesn’t mean owls aren’t nearby. Not all owls hoot, they can actually make many different noises that can sound more like a bark, hiss, screech, or whistle.
These mystical birds have been around for many years, fossil records for the owl date back 58 million years. At one point there was an owl species known as the Ornimegalonyx oteroi that stood an incredible 3 feet tall. Perhaps this species of owl went extinct because it was much more difficult for them to stay camouflaged.
Help protect the owls in your area by being aware of the greatest threats to this precious species. Owls are often threatened by loss of habitat, pesticides, and human persecution due to a lack of education about the greatness of owls.
Photo Credits: Graham McGeorge, Art Wolfe, eoiarucasadvancedone.blogspot, birdingbeijing.com, Alastair Rae, pabs, Mark W. Jennys, Sri Sanjev, Andy Holden, robandtheanimals.blogspot.com, websterswildshots.com, Marianna Armata, Lizard Martini, Sarosh, Diane