Hmm….It Doesn’t Look Like An Owl (Part 2)

by Beth | More Than Oregano

Barred Owl ©Beth Billstrom (Click on image to enlarge)

The other day I posted my surprise over learning that owl’s eyes were tubular rather than globular.  (See post here).

My second big surprise was learning how exceptionally large an owl’s beak really is.  When I think of an owl’s beak, I envision the small little hook that I typically see extending out from a mass of feathers.  I had assumed that the little beak was attached to two round bony discs that were then covered with soft feathers, but that’s not true.

Click on image to view larger

From the illustration (right) you can see that an owl’s skull looks much more like an eagle or some other bird of prey.  The beak structure is not just that little hook.  It is a much larger, sturdy bone structure that provides the necessary strength and support an owl needs to dismember it’s prey and protect itself from predators.  The facial feathers surrounding the beak are not soft and downy.  Instead they are bristle feathers that protrude in a circular fashion.  It is thought that bristle feathers may be easier to keep clean than softer, wider-vaned feathers and this may be of aid to owls in the wild.

The fact that the feathered face of an owl looks completely different from its skull is just one of the many reasons why I enjoy studying nature.  I hope that after my brief explanation of eyes and beaks, my illustration looks more like an owl to you.  It is also my hope that your understanding and respect for these intriguing birds has expanded, if only just a bit.  I know that mine continues to do so.

Thanks for stopping by.  Feel free to leave a comment or question. 🙂

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