wind turbine kit,
blood type test,
Learn all about owls - when they hunt, what they eat, how they can see and hear, and more!
an owl's eyes function differently than your eyes with this simple project.
You will need a cardboard tube, such as one from a roll of toilet paper.
Owls have two eyes, just like us. But the way they see is different.
Because of their eyes, an owl can see much better in the dark than we can.
However, an owl can only see straight ahead. This is why they need such
flexible necks, so they can turn their entire head in nearly every direction.
An owl's eyes cannot move around like ours can. Try looking up, towards
the ceiling, only moving your eyes. An owl would have to lift his head to
do what you just did.
- Cover one eye with your hand. Hold a pen or pencil about a foot in front
of your face. (You can have a helper do this for you, if you want.)
- Keep looking straight ahead while you start moving the pencil to the
side. Even though your eye is facing forward, you should still be able to
see the pencil out of the "corner of your eye." Stop moving the pencil when
you can't see it anymore. How far did it get to the side before it
- Now, hold the tube up to one eye and look through it at the pencil in
front of your face. Start moving the pencil to the side - how far did it get
before it disappeared?
- This time turn your head as the pencil moves so you can still see it
through the tube. Stop when you get to the point where the pencil
disappeared in step two. How much did you have to turn your head to see the
pencil at that point?
eyes are in front, on our face. But we can see to the side without moving
our heads! This is called
peripheral vision. Our eyes are able to
take in a lot. What we see with both our eyes open is called the field of
view. We have a wider field of view than owls do. When you held the
tube up to one eye, it narrowed your field of vision. You were no longer
able to see out of the "corner" of that eye. This is similar to how an owl
sees all the time.
Owl Pellet Dissection
Owls are birds of prey, which means they hunt small animals like mice.
Owls often swallow their meal whole, then spit out the fur and bones that can't
be eaten, and they come out in a small pellet, a little smaller than an egg. Dissecting an owl pellet is a good way to learn about the eating habits of
birds of prey.
To do this project, you'll need an
Look carefully at the outside of the pellet. How big is it? Can you
see any feathers? Look for clues that tell you where the pellet was found.
Guess how many different animal skeletons the pellet contains.
Next, gently pull apart the pellet, being careful not to break any of the
bones inside it. Use toothpicks to separate the bones from the fur or feathers.
Match the bones that you have found to a
bone chart, to help you figure out
which animal they belonged to. How many different kinds of animals did you
find in the pellet? What does this tell you about where the owl lived?
- A great horned owl, if it was the size of a human, would have eyes as big
around as oranges!
- Owls are found on every continent but Antarctica.
- Owls usually hunt alone. When they do live together, the group of owls
is called a parliament.
- What is an owl's favorite subject? (Answer: Owlgebra!)
- Knock, knock!
You don't who, owls do!
Way Cool Websites
Go to this page to find out more about the snowy owl and learn its body
To learn more about all species of owls, visit
Listen to the calls of many species of owls, from all around the world!
What is an Owl?
like other birds, have wings, beaks, and feathers. Birds also have a
skeleton (made of lots of tiny bones) that is covered by feathers. There are many kinds, or species, of owls, but all are raptors, also called
birds of prey. Birds of prey eat insects, fish, or small animals like
mice, which they must find by hunting. Owls have many unique features
that help them hunt. Most owls are
nocturnal, meaning they hunt at night, though some hunt during the day. What an owl eats and where it lives depends on
what type of owl it is.
Barn owls are large birds
that hunt rodents like mice, voles, and rats, and may also eat small birds. This type of owl is nocturnal and in the day will make a home, or roost,
in an empty building like a barn, or a hollow tree. They might also use
the empty nest of another bird to hide away in. Barn owls will
find a home near a field or marsh so they can hunt.
owls are small, quick birds that hunt mostly insects. They make nests
in trees, and their brown and gray feathers help camouflage them. These small owls are also nocturnal. Screech owls typically hunt from a perch
by diving down and catching their prey with sharp
talons and beak.
owls can be found all across North America, from marshy wetlands to Arctic
tundra. Horned owls are named because of the tufts of feathers
that look like horns on top
of their head. These birds are excellent nocturnal hunters. From
a high perch, they dive down to catch rabbits or small rodents. They may also eat large insects, fish, lizards, and other birds.
owls are big birds with white feathers that make them blend in with snow. They make their homes in tundra, a cold land where little grows. They
hunt mice, squirrels, rabbits, and other small animals. Their homes
are in open plains, with a nest built on top of a rock or mound of dirt. Snowy owls hunt when it is light, usually in the morning or early evening.
Special Senses -
Vision, Hearing, and Flight
Owls need to be able to see well,
since they are hunters. They have specially
designed eyes that see in daylight as well as the dark. An owl's eyes are
large and bright, so they are able
to gather light
to see by even when it is nighttime. Our eyes work by reflecting (like
what happens in a mirror) light, and
then an image of what is reflected, or being seen, is created in
our brains. Since owls' eyes are so large, they are able to gather
and reflect more light than
we can. Owls do not have perfect vision at night, but they can see
only are the
owl's eyes very large, but they are also close together in its flat face. That means that this
bird can't see to the side, unless it turns its head, while we are able to
look up or to the side just by moving our eyes.
Owls can turn their heads
nearly all the way around because of their flexible necks. Their heads
aren't able to spin around in a full circle, though. This is a unique
feature that humans don't have. The owl's vertebrae
are what allow it to see to the sides and behind. The bones in
the neck and back are part of the vertebra. Humans (as well as most
mammals) have seven bones (or vertebrae) in the neck. An owl has twice
that! An owl's 14 vertebrae in the neck allow it to rotate its head, seeing
in nearly every direction, even though its body stays in the same spot.
Most owls are able to turn their heads halfway around a circle in either
direction, meaning they can see straight behind by turning to the left or
right. The great horned owl can turn its head even more than halfway,
meaning it can turn its head to the right so it is looking straight back,
then continue rotating so it is looking to the left. An owl can also tilt
its head, so it is looking from upside down.
An owl has incredible hearing
thanks to its unique ears. This, combined with excellent vision,
helps the owl hunt. Our ears stick out from our head, but an owl's are
designed very differently. An owl hears with two ear holes that are
behind its flat face, or face disc. The ear hole openings are covered
in feathers at the side of the owl's face. The face disc, because of
its shape, lets sound flow into the feather-covered openings to the ear
hole. An owl relies on its ears to be able to hunt.
Not only can owls hear sounds
that are far away, but they can even tell how far away the sound is coming
from, or where it is at. On many owls, the ear hole openings are
placed so that one is higher than the other. Though the ear holes are
evenly placed and balanced in the skull, the openings are specially designed
so that an owl can hunt better, especially at night, the time when most owls
go out. Having one opening to the ear hole higher than the other means
that sound reaches each ear at a slightly different time, and the owl then
can tell where the sound is coming from.
Owls can swoop through the air without making a
sound, sneaking up on their prey. It is their specially
designed feathers that make them able to do this. Most bird
feathers are stiff and make a whoosh sound when the bird takes off,
or flaps its wings. An owl has feathers that are lighter and
softer around the edges, so that the owl can fly noiselessly. An owl's body makes it a unique bird; one specially designed for
hunting, especially at night.
What are Owl
Owls' beaks make it easier to catch a meal. Owls will often take their prey in their sharply pointed beak and then
swallow it whole, without chewing like we do to break up food. An owl always eats quickly, so
that larger animals don't try to snatch away what they have caught,
or even start attacking them. Owls survive by being sneaky
Once the owl has swallowed its prey, its
stomach starts breaking down the food, carrying it to all parts of
the owl's body. The stomach can break down (or digest)
everything but the bones and feathers or fur of the owl's last meal. The owl then spits out the parts that can't be eaten, and they come
out in a small pellet. Owl
pellets can teach us a lot about where an owl lives and what it
eats. Owl pellets are another special feature of this night
Use this worksheet to make a food web showing what an owl eats. Kids can color the pictures and draw arrows from predator to prey.