Owl food is one of the most interesting owl topics. That’s because owls are carnivorous predators just like hawks and eagles. They hunt mostly at night, and eat a variety of mammals, reptiles, birds and insects. It really depends on the species of owl as to what he will most likely eat in one day.
If you take a look at that a couple of different types of owl food, you will see that the Eagle Owl feeds upon some very large prey, including small foxes, hares, voles and shrews. They also eat birds and some of these can be quite large, such as game birds and ducks. Other owls, such as Barn Owls eat a variety of smaller animals, including mice, voles and shrews.
There are a number of fishing owls who can take fish right out of the water. These include both African and Asian Fishing Owls. Generally, an owl will take anything it can find for prey in the area and is not fussy about what it is. Because they have wings that can be totally silent, they can sneak up on their meal. Their excellent hearing also helps them to locate prey, as does their eyesight which is fifty times better than human eyesight.
While some owls like to hunt from a perch, such as in a tree branch, others are happy to catch their dinner just swooping through the air. They have talons that are especially made for gripping onto a perch, with two toes going forwards and two toes pointed backwards. These talons are also created to help the bird tear apart any prey that is too large to swallow whole.
Some species of owls like to eat frogs and snakes. Many times a small prey will be carried away in the owl’s beak, but the larger ones are held in their talons until they find a suitable eating spot. Owls will often try to shield the prey with their wings so that it is hidden from any other birds or animals who might try and take it away.
Scientists don’t know a lot about owls. Because they are nocturnal, they are seldom seen by humans. Owl food is identified from examination of regurgitated pellets. These are picked from the ground or from under nesting places and torn apart and studied in laboratories. The fur, bones, and other matter in these pellets is then identified so that the diet of the owl can be reconstructed.
The owl food that cannot be digested first collects in the gizzard of the owl. Then, the muscles in the gizzard move back and forth to pack the indigestible food parts into the pellets. These pellets actually take on the shape of the gizzard before they are regurgitated and expelled from the owl’s digestive tract.
If you can, sign up someday to go on a bird watching trip for owls. Many nature centers run these, and you may be lucky enough to find an owl you can watch through binoculars. Owls are not any threat at all to humans and they do us a great service by helping to control rodents and insects.
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