The asymmetry of Owls

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Did you know that owls have asymmetrical ears?

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..said no owl EVER.

Owls can hear extremely well, mainly because of two important factors. First, their faces are literally like a satellite dish, that funnel sound waves into their ears. And second, most owl’s ear openings are asymmetrical.

Aegolius_skull

Modified from the original found at http://people.eku.edu/ritchisong/birdbrain2.html

So? You say. So, I (and other researchers) say, this means that when the sound arrives, it does so with a teeny tiny difference in time, and because of this difference in arrival time the owl can not only determine the direction more precisely, but also the height the sound came from. In other words, its precise location. Owls are fluffy, mean, hunting machines. Be thankful you’re not a mouse, at night, foraging in the dead leaves with no idea that an owl has located you and, in complete silence, is about to swoop down on you. Be thankful.

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A captive owl, swooping.

Here are some cute photos of owls. All of the photos in this post, except for the diagram of the owl skull, are mine 🙂

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Intense stare

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Just about to land

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Mr. Grumpy has had a bad day

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