By reporters: Izzy and Tabitha
On Friday October 23, 2015 Mr.Ridenhour visited Mrs. Bond’s class. He brought two of his owls Digger and Merlin. Digger is a burrowing owl (small brown owl in the cage) and Merlin is a great horned owl.(He looks like he has horns.)
Mr.Ridenhour taught us about the warning signs that most owls use. The signs are: first they will puff out their feathers if you get to close, if you don’t go away they will start clicking their beaks and hissing, if you still don’t go away they will bite at you or scratch at you.
When Mr. Ridenhour came he taught us about the superpowers of owls.The powers that he talked about were: amazing hearing, spectacular sight, and the silent flight of owls.These are the main superpowers of owls. In order to learn more about these powers of theirs we watched the PBS Nature episode “Owl Power” in class.
An owl’s hearing is very important to an owl. They use their hearing for finding food and hearing their owlets calling to them. “How do they hear if they don’t have ears?” you might ask. Well in fact they do have ears just not like us humans do. Their ears are hidden by their feathers so you can’t see them. One thing that helps owls hear is their facial disk. It helps so if they hear something that is far away they can feel it bounce off. Another thing that helps is that they have one ear higher than the other; that way they know where, how high, or how low their prey is. Having one ear higher than the other is sort of like an alien species. Even though it might sound weird, it is helpful.
Owls' sight is almost as important as their hearing. Their hearing can help them hunt, but it can’t keep them from running into a tree. Owls have a lot of rod cells which are very sensitive to light. This helps them see at night. They see things two and a half times brighter than us. This can help them get home and keeps them from running into things in the dark. Did you know that owl’s eyes are sooo big that they take up 70 % of their skull? Human eyes only take up 5% of our skull.
Mr. Ridenhour explained owls are slower because of the way their wings and feathers are built. Their feathers are built in order to stop turbulence from being created, but this also makes them slower. Some other birds, of prey like the hawk, have feathers that are stiff so they can go faster but are louder. Owls have soft downy feathers that are quieter but slower. Mr. Ridenhour explained that owls have comb-like fringes on one side of the wing, the other side of the wing is sort of tattered looking. This lets air pass gently through the wings instead of making turbulence, which make noise.
Mrs. Bond’s class learned about the superpowers of owl. They are continuing to learn about these amazing creatures. In our opinion, owls are amazing birds! What do you think?