Thursday, March 12, 2015

OWLS Topic for Second Saturday

Barred Owl at HNWR, by Monica Muil
This Saturday, March 14, 2015,  Dr. Wayne Meyer, Associate Professor of Biology at Austin College will speak on “Owls” at 10 am in the Visitor Center at Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge, and in the evening at 7 pm he will lead an Owl Walk, that will depart from the Big Mineral Picnic Area at the Refuge.

With a nod to Dr. Meyer’s topic, here is some owl trivia gathered on the worldwide web:

To watch a nest of Great Horned Owls, here is a link to a webcam site belonging to Cornell Lab of Ornithology.  

Interesting facts about owls, from Texas Parks &Wildlife include:
  • Most owls are active primarily at twilight and by night.
  • Owl flight is silent, thanks to the combination of large wings, small bodies and special fringed and velvet textured feathers which deaden sound.
  • Owls have superb eyesight, between 35 and 100 times the sensitivity of the human eye, and excellent night vision.
  • Owl vision is binocular and while, unlike humans, the owl cannot rotate its eyeballs, it can rotate its neck from 180 degrees up to 270 degrees.
  • Owls have excellent hearing, with ear openings concealed behind the edges of the facial eye disks, which can be moved to listen in different directions.  Their hearing is especially tuned to detect high frequency sounds made by prey.
  • Ear tufts do not play a part in the owl’s hearing; birds do not have protruding external ears.

The website, Journey North  offers a menu of audio clips for listening to owls.  You are sure to learn more from Dr. Meyer at Second Saturday!

Note - Second Saturday programs at held year around at Hagerman NWR, sponsored by the Refuge and the Friends of Hagerman,  and are free and open to the public.

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