One of the most notable features of the owls in general are their incredibly flexible necks. Most birds of prey likes hawks, falcons, eagles, and vultures, have their eyes on opposite sides of their head. Owls, however, like we humans, have binocular, or stereoscopic, vision. This means that owls have to turn their heads a lot more than other birds of prey might in order to look all around. In response to this, the owls have evolved the ability to turn their heads around 270 degrees, in either direction!
|One of the great horned owls that my grandparents had in their backyard for a few months|
The great horned owl, more so than other owls, has an amazing crushing grip in its talons, around 300 pounds per square inch, which is more than the human hand is capable of! There are also reports of cases in which the power exerted by the talons of the great horned owl matching those of much larger species of bird of prey, like the golden eagle. The great horned owl is also capable of lifting prey that is several times heavier than they are.
- Domestic Cats
- Small or young domestic dogs
- Rabbits and hares
- Weasels and martens
- Flying Squirrels
- Great blue heron and other herons
- Other birds of prey, such as red-tailed hawks, snowy owls, and other great horned owls
Where did I see the owls? The first one was exactly a month ago when my friend Masaki Kleinkopf and I were heading back from seeing the new James Bond movie, Skyfall, which was really really good (but not as good, in my opinion, as The Hobbit, which we saw last night and which was fantastic). We decided to take the back way, the bird of prey route between Boulder and Superior where one can frequently see red-tailed hawks, kestrels, turkey vultures, and golden eagles. Instead, we saw a great horned owl!
|A picture of one of the red-tailed hawks that I took yesterday on the Bird of Prey Route. Not only is it an amazing bird in its own right, but it is also potential prey for the great horned owl.|
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