Nov 23, 2018
Niagara Glen Nature Centre, NOTL
Owls have intrigued people throughout time for their beauty and mystery. The evolutionary specialization of owl behaviour, vision and hearing allows them to survive in complete darkness, which also equips them for their unique predatory lifestyle.
On November 23rd from 6:30-8:30pm, embrace this unique opportunity to learn more about these incredible creatures as The Canadian Raptor Conservancy brings 3 live owls to the Niagara Glen Nature Centre and teaches guests about owl calls. Enjoy a 40-minute “owl talk” inside, then venture outside to attempt some wild owl calls of your own.
Please dress appropriately for the weather as this “rain or shine” event has an indoor and outdoor component. Parking is free.
Hunters by Nature
Owls have proportionately large eyes to accommodate the structure necessary for night time vision. Although night hunting is a characteristic behaviour of owls, they can also see very well during daylight.
Because owls’ wings have the largest surface area relative to body weight of all birds, they can fly slowly and silently using only shallow wing beats. The downy surface of the wing and its softly fringed edge also reduce noise in flight – helpful in approaching prey. The short broad wings provide enough lift to carry prey with relative ease.
Owls rely heavily on hearing to fix the precise location of prey. Their ears are so sensitive that environmental noise can cause them to stop hunting. A thunderstorm or a snowmobile, for example, can have this effect.
The owl’s wide head sets the ears far apart, which helps it easily estimate the horizontal location of a sound surface, that is, from side to side just as we use our ears. But to be able to catch prey, the owl must also accurately determine both the horizontal location and distance simultaneously, arriving at the precise location of the animal within microseconds.
Food Supply and Survival
Availability of prey animals fluctuates in cycles of abundance and decline. These cycles are dramatic in the Arctic. When prey is scarce, northern owls often move into southerly regions.