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Owls are raptors.

When you hear the word raptor, many people immediately envision Jurassic Park–but raptors are not just limited to these extinct dinosaurs! Modern day birds of prey (predatory birds) are commonly referred to as raptors.  Locally we have different kinds of raptors such as different types of hawks, eagles, and owls. The owl is a very specialized hunter which is rarely seen because it is most active at night.

Owls have incredibly developed hunting techniques and biology which enables them to hunt efficiently and silently at night. Owl’s wings and feathers are specialized for different hunting and flying reasons. The feathers on an owl’s wing have ridges and allow owls to fly almost silently through the air. This silent attack allows owls to catch their food suddenly and with little warning.

Because they are also hunting at night it is

Great Horned Owl at Sepulveda Basin

incredibly important for them to be able to hear and see precisely. Even their face is designed to amplify sound up to ten times, their feathers form a facial disk which channels sound into their ear holes.

As explained in “True Facts about the Owl,” imagine trying to catch a moving burrito with your feet in the dark just based off the sound it makes. . . You laugh but an owl can essentially catch its moving prey in total darkness based off of sound while swooping down from a tree and snatching it with its feet. Incredible!

Owl feet are also adapted to snatch prey and their grip is much tighter than a human grip. Their talons and feet are zygodactyl which means two of their feet are frontward and two are backward allowing for them to grab their prey as they fly down and to also perch on a branch. That’s a lot of multitasking!

These raptors grab a hold of our interest and play a very important role in the environment as fantastic flying birds of prey.

Check these links below for more about Owls:

Owl Info

Audubon Owls

20 Fun Facts About Owls

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