Xmas with the Owls

Bubo scandiacusThe amazing yellow eyes are fixed in bone rings, meaning the bird must move its head to see in different directions. The result is a remarkable 270-degree twisting of the neck to scan the surroundings. The lemon yellow is said to act like a filter to block the bright glare of sun off of snow.Bubo scandiacusNote the almost flat profile of the face, the deeply-set eyes, and the disc-like feather pattern surrounding the eyes. This facial disc acts to direct sound waves towards the ears. Bubo scandiacusThe ears, meanwhile, are hidden under the feathers. Like a radar dish, the owl’s face, including its downward bill, force sound towards the ears. Some owl species have asymmetrical skulls: one ear-hole is higher than the other, the difference helping to triangulate the little scamper of, say, voles under the snow. Snowys don’t seem to have this pronounced difference, but their hearing is still very acute. They hunt in the unending daylight of the Arctic Summer and the long darkness of the Arctic Winter. Down here, they rest during the day and hunt at night. Animals as big as Arctic foxes are their prey.

7 Responses to “Xmas with the Owls”

  1. 1 Tricia December 26, 2013 at 9:28 am

    Beautiful! Do you know about the Horvaths and WINORR- Wildlife in Need of Rescue and Rehabilitation–on LI? They posted this video on Christmas Eve of a snowy owl rescued earlier this month https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=697420180292282&set=vb.113685721999067&type=2&theater

  2. 5 Ms. Carol Gracie December 26, 2013 at 10:34 am

    Beautiful photos!

  3. 6 S. Shennon December 27, 2013 at 1:43 am

    Beautiful and so interesting! A great education
    for us city dwellers!

  1. 1 Last of the Snowy Owls | Backyard and Beyond Trackback on March 25, 2014 at 8:40 am

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