Owls are one of our most misunderstood birds. Why? First, let’s look at some cool owl facts to understand them.
They have no teeth. So how do they chew their food? Ah, they don’t. They swallow their food whole (think rats, mice, insects, and birds). After digesting it, they throw up the bones & fur. Lovely.
Other Owl Facts
Actually, owls don’t have eyeballs. They have fixed tubes, almost like binoculars.
In order to compensate, they can turn their head 270 degrees. Think about being able to spin your head almost completely around, but with fixed eyes. We can only rotate our heads half that far. Incredible!
And What Is A Zygoodactyl?
What Is A Group Of Owls Called?
The term was coined by author C.S. Lewis in the books. And speaking of books (and movies), owls deliver mail at Hogwarts in the Harry Potter films. Which of course is a myth since owls can’t carry mail!
The Misunderstood Owl
But getting back to being misunderstood. Often portrayed as evil omens, mystical and a symbol of death, people have have come to fear them. As a result, they are sometimes killed because people are afraid of them.
Why Are Owls Important?
One of the biggest threats to owls is rodent poison. If you use poison to get rid of mice & rats, you are also killing any animals that feed on those mice & rats, including owls. Since an owl eats up to 3 rats a night, they are much better rodent controllers than poison.
And owls contribute to our economy? Now that sounds a little farfetched! Well, since owls are one of the most popular birds for bird watchers and bird watchers spend lots of money on tourism to see birds, it makes sense.
And last. but not least, many artists, including Dale, love depicting owls. Art not only helps boast economic development, but touches our heart & soul. Dale’s sculpture of a life-sized snowy owl, “Riding the White Wind”, carved from Yule marble is in the permanent collection of Brookgreen Gardens.
How Can We Help?
Keep all food and wrappers inside your car. What happens when you throw food out of your car along roadsides? Owls often swoop down to inspect/eat the food and then are hit by a car.
If you own property, keep netting, barbed wire, etc out. Owls, like all birds, can get tangled up and die. And you might want to consider putting up an owl nesting box to help them with a place to live.
You can also check out all kinds of fun activities online to learn more about owls. Everything from drawing owls to building a nest box is included in a guide from The National Wildlife Federation.
Bird’s Eye View, all about owls by National Geographic