Owls

OWL FACTS

Some cool owl facts. Ok, the coolest one right upfront. Owls 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).

owl facts

Owls have no teeth so they swallow their prey whole

Another of the coolest owl facts is an owl can not turn its eyes, but 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!

owl facts

Owls can turn their heads 270 degrees. Pretty cool!

The owl’s foot is called a zygoodactyl

AND A ZYGOODACTYL? WHAT IS THAT?

And third, their foot is called a zygodactyl (now that is a fun word). It has 3 toes facing forward and 1 toe facing backward so they can snatch their prey.

WHAT IS A GROUP OF OWLS CALLED?

owl facts

A group of owls is called a parliament

One last tidbit in the category of owl facts. What is the name for a group of owls? If you read the Chronicles of Narnia (which I still love), you might know a group of owls is called a parliament. 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!

owl facts

Owls are misunderstood with some folks thinking they are bad omens when in fact, they are good for the environment

All 220+ species of owls can be divided into just two families: barn owls and typical owls. But owls are considered mysterious and often bad omens. Another misunderstood animal. Sometimes they are even killed because people are afraid of them. They are rarely seen since most are nocturnal, coming out to hunt at night.

OUR EXPERIENCE WITH OWLS

Dale loves carving owls, as they are one of his favorite birds. “Riding the White Wind”, his sculpture of a life-size snowy owl carved from Yule marble is in the permanent collection of Brookgreen Gardens.

WHAT CAN WE DO TO HELP OWLS?

Owls are critical to our environment as apex predators. They control rodent and insect populations naturally without the use of dangerous pesticides that can also pollute our soil and water. One of the biggest threats to owls is rodent poison. If you use poison to get rid of rodents, the owls eat the sick poisoned rodents. As a result, they die from the poison. Since an owl can eat up to 3 rats a night, they are much better rodent controllers than poison.

You can also support organizations such as

LEARN, LEARN, LEARN!

With 220 species of owls, find out what kind of owls live in your neighborhood. In our North Carolina mountains, we have four kinds of owls. Each owl has a distinctive call at night which you can learn to recognize. Listen to 4 owl calls in the video below. Which is your favorite?

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.

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