Owls are one of the most ancient birds on our planet. According to ornithologists, owls lived on the territory of North America several tens of millions of years ago. It is believed that the first owl-like bird lived in the Mesozoic period of about 250 million years BC.
Although they are birds of prey, they have little in common with daytime raptors. In the legends of the Middle Ages, owls act as mystical characters who see the past, future and present, in those days people were afraid of them and avoided them.
In the perception of modern man owl - the wisest bird in the world. These birds are mentioned in the Bible in the prophecies of Isaiah, and on the Babylonian bas-reliefs the goddess Ishtar is depicted accompanied by two owls.
Despite their predatory nature, these birds play a very important role in nature, preventing the growth of populations of mice and other rodents that damage the agriculture and forestry.
Owl features and habitat
Owls live almost everywhere except Antarctica. They are found in deserts, steppes, high in the mountains, on the sea coast, in forests, villages and even in large megacities.
They usually avoid open areas, except for some varieties, such as wading owls. Part of the population of these birds leads a sedentary lifestyle, some regularly fly from place to place.
Listen to the voice of the swamp owl
They nest most often in secluded places, for example, in crevices of a rock, a hollow of an old tree, or in an attic under the roof of a house.
Owl sizes vary over a fairly wide range. The smallest representatives - sparrow owls in height reach no more than 20 cm, and weight does not exceed 100 grams.
Listen to the voice of the sparrow owl
The largest owl - eagle owl bird, its weight can reach up to 4 kg, and height - up to 75 cm.
The body of the bird is strewn with thick feathers, under which there is a large amount of fluff. Coloring also varies depending on the species, and today they are known - 420.
Often, the color depends on the habitat, adapting, for example, to the characteristics of the tree bark and acting as a disguise. In order to see the amazing variety of colors of these birds, you can seephoto owl birds.
Owls have very sinewy and strong legs. The bird captures its victims with claws. The eyes are very large and have a penetrating look. Due to this feature since ancient Greek times it is believed that owl - wise bird.
The special structure of the eyes allows owls to perceive a stream of light of reduced intensity, which explains the fact that in the dark they see no worse than in daylight. Owl vision has the only drawback - next to them, they notice almost nothing.
Hearing in these birds is developed approximately 50 times better than in humans, and the ears have different locations relative to each other, which in turn allows them to detect the location and track further movement of prey.
The structure of the owl's beak is similar to the beak of parrots, not for nothing that they are one of the closest relatives. The neck of the birds is unusually mobile and allows them to turn their heads 270 degrees.
Owl character and lifestyle
Unambiguously answer the question, migratory bird owl or not difficult, mainly birds of the order of owls prefer a sedentary lifestyle and live in pairs. The main peak of their activity occurs at night, during the day they sit in their nests or on tree branches.
The only exceptions are white owls showing almost round-the-clock activity during the polar day. Male and female owls form a couple and spend their whole lives in a single marriage, the courtship period inherent in many other birds, in fact they do not.
Owls are not special lovers of building nests and can take strangers or simply lay their eggs in a small depression in the ground. They usually have 4 to 10 eggs at a time. Hatched chicks can eat each other in case of insufficient nutrition.
They spend about a month in their parent's nest, after which they fall out and start an independent life or go to someone’s feed themselves, for example, to their sworn enemies - daytime predators such as golden eagles, eagles and hawks.
Generally owls - night birds, during the day, they can fly from place to place only if someone disturbed them or were attacked by daytime predators, otherwise they will hide in the crowns of trees, sometimes making wailing sounds to outline the boundaries of their territory or to attract females, which, by the way, are slightly larger than males.
Absolutely all species of owls feed exclusively on animal foods, such as worms, large insects, snakes and lizards. Some species feed on fish caught in shallow water, but the bulk of the owl population prefers small rodents, birds, and sometimes bats.
The largest eagle owls prey on hedgehogs, partridges, pheasants, black grouses, and even birds of prey. Carrion owls do not eat. In winter, they can stockpile directly in their nests.
Sometimes dozens of frozen field mice accumulate there. Owls can spend up to several months without water. The necessary level of fluid provides them with blood from the caught prey. An owl hunts and, accordingly, eats in the dark.
The behavior of males and female owls varies by species. There are species that, having formed once a couple, spend their whole lives together, males of some species, on the contrary, annually look for new females.
Owl breeding occurs approximately once a year. The female hatches the egg for about a month, and the male provides her nutrition during this period. Often, due to the uneven distribution of food, some chicks are far behind in growth from others, and can be easily eaten stronger during hunger times.
Owl eggs differ from the eggs of most birds: they are exclusively white and in the shape of a ball. Owl chicks are born helpless, their eyes are covered with down. Both parents feed them.
To the question "what an owl does a bird have life expectancy? "the unequivocal answer is also not easy to give: the life expectancy of most individuals ranges from five to ten years, but there are cases when owls kept in the zoo survived to forty or even fifty years.
The main reason owls die is a lack of food. In years when the number of rodents is small, about a quarter of young offspring die. Also, owls are often attacked by other predators - hawks, golden eagles and others. Even some small species of birds can attack owls sitting on trees in the daytime.
Owl birds species
At the moment, scientists counted about 420 species of owls. Generally owl - bird of the forest, but it can also be located not far from a person, attics and roofs are favorite places.
The white owl, on the contrary, eschews people and lives mainly in the northern latitudes, where the population is the lowest. The largest species is the eagle owl, and the smallest is the passerine owl.
Buy owl bird You can in a pet store or on specialized bulletin boards on the Internet, but it is worthwhile to understand that this is a predator and it eats exclusively animal food.