To See Like An Owl: Adapt & Focus

by Beth | More Than Oregano

Ever since my unexpected encounter with the great horned owl (see post here), I can’t seem to get them out of my mind..   In my quest for information I discovered a great resource:  Owls of the United States and Canada by Wayne Lynch.

Lynch weaves scientifically proven information about owls in and around his own personal experiences.  I’m only part-way through his book, but Lynch has already challenged my former knowledge regarding owls and their “superhuman” sensory abilities.

As with most people, I’ve long thought that owls possess amazing nocturnal vision and limited daylight vision.  Why else would owls hunt elusive woodland creatures at night and then sleep all day?  All the information I’ve heard about owls supported my belief that the eyes of owls were perfect for seeing in dimly lit arenas.  For years I’ve heard stories of the amazing nocturnal hunting skills owls possess.  How they can locate rodents under the cover of leaves even on a dark night.  I was always impressed, but also thought, “With eyes like theirs how could they NOT be amazing nocturnal hunters?”  It just seemed natural for them.  Easy.  They were built for night-time hunting, therefore, they were fabulous at it.

But now Lynch, using convincing data found by Graham Martin “debunks the myth” of owls superior visionary skills.  It appears that owls really don’t see (or hear) better than humans!  So then how can they be such skilled hunters?   According to Lynch and Martin, “Many owls are active at night, yet their vision and hearing are not extraordinary compared to humans….their behavior helps them optimize their sensory abilities.”  In a nutshell, an owl is not anymore gifted to hunt than you or me.  What they are able to do is adapt their behavior by focusing on the job at hand without distraction!  In essence they teach themselves nocturnal hunting skills by becoming so familiar with their hunting grounds that it becomes natural to fly through it at night.  They focus their energy on learning their hunting grounds in order to make it easier to use their sensory skills.

As I read about owls this week, I thought about myself and the PostADay2011 challenge.  I wish I could say that I am flying through the blogging “forest” with ease, but the truth is I’ve already whacked into a few proverbial branches!  Lack of time was the first branch I hit.  I’m only one week into the project, and I can see that I’m going to have to adapt my behavior if I’m going to successfully do this.  There are a lot of things I want to accomplish in 2011, blogging being only one of them.  However, I like the idea of posting so much that blogging will soon become a natural part of who I am and what I do each day.  I’m certainly not going to give up, but I definitely need to focus my energies…..only 51 more weeks to go! 🙂