Tag Archives: how an owl hears; owl hearing; owl ears

How an Owl Hears: Five Key Facts

Strix_aluco_1_(Martin_Mecnarowski)

Owl at night (Photo: Wiki Commons, Martin Mecnarowski).

Owl Hearing Explained

Nature never does anything without a reason and there’s a reason for everything that birds do, such as why hawks and eagles hunt during the day and most owls hunt at night.  In ecology lingo it’s called “habitat partitioning,” which means using different parts of the habitat at different times or in different ways and not overlapping. This allows predatory birds like eagles and hawks to avoid conflict, and mice to be terrified 24 hours a day (it’s rough being lowest on the food chain).

Hunting at night isn’t nearly as simple as hunting during the day. Night hunters can’t use their eyesight very well (except during times of the full moon), prey animals can hear them coming (because it’s more still), and they have to land on a scampering wee beastie that is moving lightning fast (in, under, and around things) on the forest floor (or flying) with accuracy. Not much to ask eh? Owls are spectacular hunters, and I’ve come to appreciate their adaptations for catching prey, in particular their accuracy and hearing. That's why I thought I'd do a post on how an owl hears.

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