The sharp-eyed eagle and the wise owl

The following text is originally lifted from the trivia section of The Jakarta Post dated Saturday, 9 February 2008.

~Compiled from various sources~

  • The most powerful bird in the Amazon is the harpy eagle. This eagle can have a wingspan as long as two metres and weigh up to 4.5 kilos.
  • The harpy eagle feeds on large to small mammals including monkeys and sloths. An adult harpy can grow talons up to 20 cm long.
  • Bald-headed eagles are larger at age two than when fully mature.
  • There are more bald eagles in the province of British Columbia than there are in the whole USA.
  • The peregrine has been known to nest on skyscrapers.
  • The nest of a bald eagle can be 3.5 metres, three metres wide and weigh over a ton.
  • Harpy eagles, from South America, eat monkeys.
  • Indian Black Eagles will take the entire nest of other birds to either consume the eggs or the young.
  • Kestrels can detect ultraviolet light. It is helpful to them because small mammals such as voles mark their tracks with urine which reflects ultraviolet light. This means that a kestrel can track them.
  • The Kestrel is a solitary bird, but is sometimes seen in pairs during the breeding season.
  • The Turkey Vulture roosts communally at night in groups that can number hundreds. At night they lower their body temperature by 6 degrees to 34 degrees Celcius, becoming slightly hypothermic.
  • Plover birds of Egypt ride their backs of crocodiles and enter the croc's mouth to pick its teeth.
  • The owl's cornea is highly convex so that its vision up, down, left and right is good.
  • The owl has the ability to turn its head up to 270 degrees.
  • The face of an owl is disk-shaped in order to pick up more light and sound waves, much like a satellite dish.
  • The owl's hearing is far superior to that of a human thanks to the placement of the ears: the right ear is located above the left ear and pointed at a different angle so the owl can perceive vertical sound movement in addition to the horizontal sound movement that humans can detect.
  • The largest owl, the Eurasian Eagle Owl, will eat almost any animal they can kill, from beetles to deer.
  • Owls have soft feathers all over their bodies, even on their legs. The extra feathers absorb the sounds made by the owl's flight, making them successful hunters.
  • Owls have extremely sharp, curved talons. They depend on their talons for killing and eating prey, as well as for gripping.
  • Besides communicating by hooting, owls clap their wings, snap their beaks and sing.
  • Screech owls use song in the reproductive process. A male bird will sing a song in a lower pitch, and the female with answer in her higher voice. The two then sing a duet, during which the two owls draw closer to one another.
  • Owls can focus each eye individually.
  • Owls can contract their pupils, which is necessary to filter out extra light, and therefore can see during the daytime. Even during the day, owls have better visual acuity than humans.
  • Owls have been around for millions of years. The oldest owl fossils found have been dated to about 65 million years ago.
  • All owls lay white eggs.
  • Owls feed entirely on animals.
  • A single barn owl can eat over 1,000 mic in a year.

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