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Animal Awareness: The Great Horned Owl

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What is it about Great Horned Owls that make them look wise and at the same time dangerous? Well, to give you an idea, it is those massive golden eyes and devilish horns formed by the feathers that sit on top of their ears. But what is it about those massive eyes that keep our curious minds wondering what makes them so massive? Let us take a look at a part of their lifestyle before we make any conclusions.

Being nocturnal, the Great Horned Owl must contain a large surface area for their eyes to capture light as much as they can to allow them to see at night. They are also farsighted, meaning they cannot see anything that is within a few inches in front of them. This adaptation allows them to catch sight of prey that is distant. So once that poor little someone, soon to become the owl’s dinner, scurries along its line of vision, there is no turning back.

What makes the Great Horned Owl so distinct from the others is the horn-like tufts that form just above their ears. Also, the coloration of their feathers makes them unique in that they are mostly individually striped with darker and lighter shades of brown. They are referred to as “Tigers of the Night” for this reason. Great Horned Owls are mostly predominant in the western hemisphere where they range from the Arctic all the way through South America. So if you are walking through the woods and you come across a Great Horned Owl, do not be surprised.

Did You Know? Great Horned Owls, as well as other owls, are equipped with three eyelids. The upper eyelid is normally used for when the owl blinks while the lower lid is used mainly for when the owl is asleep. The third lid (nictating membrane) is located just beneath the other two upper and lower lids and closes diagonally to clean the surface of the eye inside and out.

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The Student News Source of the University of New Haven
Animal Awareness: The Great Horned Owl