Owls: Who's Who?

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Great Horned Owl, Bubo virginianus

Over the years, owls have represented wisdom, carried omens and even become popular accessories to the more recent hipster movement. Without all the symbolism, however, owls can hold their own because they are, well … seriously cool.

According to Audubon Sanctuary Manager Kyle Simpson, Tennessee is home to four species of owls: the great horned owl, the barred owl, the Eastern screech owl and the barn owl. “The rotating head is awesome, but the thing that’s the most interesting to me about owls is their ears are offset,” says Simpson. “I think it gives them a better ability to triangulate where things are.”

The great horned owl, known for its ear tufts and yellow eyes, can often be heard in areas of Chattanooga establishing its territory in December and January. Distinguished by its unique low-pitched five to six note call, the great horned owl is the largest owl that nests in Tennessee, according to tnwatchablewildlife.org.

“Great horned owls oftentimes nest in abandoned nests other birds have left behind—mostly larger birds like herons,” says Simpson.

ENGINEERED FOR THE NIGHT:A few of the traits that make owls successful predators

BINOCULAR VISION

Though they are nocturnal, owls can see during the daytime—they can just see extremely well at night.

STEREOSCOPIC HEARING

Owls hear similarly to the way that humans hear, they are just much more sensitive to certain frequencies.

180° HEAD ROTATION

The great horned owl can’t move its eyes, but it can swivel its head more than 180 degrees to look in any direction.

SILENT FLIGHT

The great horned owl has special feathers that make its flight nearly soundless.

HEAR THEIR CALLS

To hear the calls and hoots of these owls, visit http://www.allaboutbirds.org.

CHECK THIS OUT

Pay a visit to www.chattanoogaaudubon.org to find out information on monthly owl prowls.

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