This Sunday we went to my favorite place called Mini Zoo. They have so many lovely animals and today I'm sharing the first part of the photos - the owls. I think they're my favorite birds of all. There are 200 different owl species. Most are solitary and nocturnal, with some exceptions (e.g., the Northern Hawk Owl). Owls hunt mostly small mammals, insects, and other birds, although a few species specialize in hunting fish. They are found in all regions of the Earth except Antarctica, most of Greenland and some remote islands. Owls are characterized by their small beaks and wide faces, and are divided into two families: the typical owls, Strigidae; and the barn-owls, Tytonidae.
- Many owl species have asymmetrical ears that are different sizes and different heights on their heads. This gives the birds superior hearing and the ability to pinpoint where prey is located, even if they can't see it.
- Several owls species have "ear" tufts on their heads but they aren't ears at all. These tufts of feathers may indicate the bird's mood, help keep it camouflaged or be used to show aggression.
- The flattened facial disk of an owl funnels sound to the bird's ears and magnifies it as much as ten times to help the bird hear noises humans can't detect.
- An owl's eyes are supported by bony eye sockets and they cannot turn their eyes. Instead, owls rotate their heads up to 270 degrees, but they cannot turn their heads all the way around.
- An owl has three eyelids: one for blinking, one for sleeping and one for keeping the eye clean and healthy.
- A barn owl can eat up to 1,000 mice each year, and many farmers try to attract barn owls to help control rodent populations in agricultural fields.
- Owls have specialized feathers with fringes of varying softness the help muffle sound when they fly. Their broad wings and light bodies also make them nearly silent fliers, which helps them stalk prey more easily.
- Owls have been found in the fossil record up to 58 million years ago. The largest recorded owl fossil, Orinmegalonyx oteroi, stood about three feet tall.
Eurasian eagle owl
Eurasian eagle owl