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Susanne Stevenson

4th grade teacher in western Kansas.

Guide to North American Birds. Online bird guide, bird ID help, life history, bird sounds from Cornell. Owls Archives » Bird Watcher's Digest. The spotted owl is a large, dark-eyed owl of the old growth forests of the Pacific Northwest and the wooded canyons of the desert Southwest.

Owls Archives » Bird Watcher's Digest

Because of the spotted owl's reliance on old-growth woodland, environmentalists and the timber logging industry have clashed over preserving habitat for this gentle species. Spotted owls resemble barred owls in… See details » A rounded, earless outline, smoky gray-brown plumage that is heavily mottled and barred with white, broad brown streaks on a white belly, and dark eyes distinguish the barred owl. Its bill and feet are yellow. Its familiar eight-hoot call gives way to raucous and sometimes frightening caterwauling in breeding season.

Short-eared owls are medium-sized birds that hunt over grassy fields and marshes and are most likely to be seen at dusk, when field marks begin to fade. Long-eared owls are medium-sized birds that hunt over grassy fields and marshes and are most likely to be seen at dusk, when field marks begin to fade. Barn Owl. American Bird Conservancy. Owl ID Guide. Digestion in Owls - The Owl Pages. Like other birds, Owls cannot chew their food - small prey items are swallowed whole, while larger prey are torn into smaller pieces before being swallowed.

Digestion in Owls - The Owl Pages

Some Owl species will partially pluck bird and larger mammal prey. Unlike other birds, Owls have no Crop. A crop is a loose sac in the throat that serves as storage for food for later consumption. Since an Owl lacks this, food is passed directly into their digestive system. Now, a bird's stomach has two parts: The first part is the glandular stomach or proventriculus, which produces enzymes, acids, and mucus that begin the process of digestion. The second part is the muscular stomach, called the Ventriculus, or gizzard. The soluble, or soft parts of the food are ground by muscular contractions, and allowed to pass through to the rest of the digestive system, which includes the small and large intestine. The pellet cycle is regular, regurgitating the remains when the digestive system has finished extracting the nutrition from the food.

Owls and Owl Pellets. General Information Of the 180 or so species of owls that occur worldwide, eighteen species occur in North America.

Owls and Owl Pellets

These are divided into two groups, the Barn Owl (1 species) and the typical owls (17 species). Owls range in size from the tiny North America Elf Owl, which at 6 inches long is the smallest owl in the world, to the large and powerful Great Horned, Snowy and Great Gray Owls. Most owls are nocturnal, but some species, such as the Short-eared Owl, Barred Owl, Snowy Owl, Hawk Owl and Pygmy Owl, will hunt during the day. Notice in the following images that owls are cryptically colored and patterned to blend in with their preferred habitat. Owls perform a valuable service by helping to keep rodent populations in check. How & Why the Owl Forms a Pellet. Owls are exclusively birds of prey.

How & Why the Owl Forms a Pellet

The prey varies, depending on the size of the owl and availability of prey animals in their natural habitat, but includes insects, fish and small mammals. The best way to determine what an owl has eaten is by examining the pellets. The production of pellets are a natural and essential part of the owl’s digestive process. Weak Bills Owls have many strengths, including excellent vision and hearing, powerful talons and the ability to fly silently.

Regurgitation Owls do have some autonomy, however, when it comes to expelling the pellet.