What Do Owls Eat? What you need to know!

Did you know that there are about 200 different species of owls? There are 19 species of owls found in the United States alone. There is a great deal of diversity among the different owl species, but they all have one thing in common: they are strict carnivores. In this article, we will discuss the different habitats of owls and their typical diet.

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Owl Habitat

Owls live in a wide variety of habitats around the world, including grasslands, deserts, and, most commonly, forested areas such as forests. You’ll usually find their nests in trees, but they also nest in barns, holes in the ground, and even in caves.

Unlike other birds, owls do not migrate in winter, but they stay. Most of the time, they remain active during the winter, constantly hunting for prey. Many owls, such as the snowy owl, great horned owl, and great gray owl are adapted to live in very cold climates. The snowy owl, which can usually be found in areas around the Arctic and occasionally Canada and the Northern United States, can survive temperatures as cold as -60°F. With densely layered plumage and thick paw pads, this owl is made for this breed. this temperature.

Owls that live in very warm climates, such as desert owls, stay cool by limiting their activity at night when the weather outside is much cooler. Digging owls do what you’d expect by their name: they hide in the ground to protect themselves from the hot weather.

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What Do Owls Eat?

As you can see, owls around the world can live in a variety of habitats; they have adapted over time to the climate of their particular area. The right owl diet depends on its size, habitat, and the types of animals available nearby. For example, the screech owl, which typically grows no taller than 8 to 10 inches, feeds primarily on insects. Compare the screech owl to the eagle owl, which is about 2 feet tall and feeds on prey such as foxes, rabbits, and even other birds such as ducks.

While there is a great deal of variation among the different owl species, the typical owl diet usually includes rodents and other small mammals. Their diet can also include reptiles such as lizards and snakes, invertebrates, fish, frogs, squirrels, birds and other animals. Most owls are opportunistic eaters, which means they will eat whatever is available to them.

To catch their prey, owls often wait for something to come while perched on a low branch or stump. They have excellent hearing and eyesight which allows them to detect even the smallest and quietest prey. Once they found something, they would come down to collect their victims. The special feathers on its wings help muffle sound during flight, making it easy for sudden prey to occur. Like other birds, they are unable to swallow their food, so they are eaten whole or torn into smaller, easier-to-digest pieces. Indigestible parts of owl prey such as bones or feathers are regurgitated as pellets.

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Owls and Conservation Efforts

As predators, owls play an important role in preventing overpopulation of pests such as rats that tend to eat plants and other foods. However, many owl species are threatened due to human activities, habitat loss, invasive species, and climate change. Organizations such as Wildlife Defenders work to protect owl habitat across the United States by petitioning local and state governments, working against climate change, and engaging in forest planning.

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Final Thoughts

Owls are large animals that play an important role in controlling small prey populations worldwide. They greatly help humans by reducing the population of pests such as rodents that tend to damage human food supplies. However, some owl species are becoming endangered largely due to human activities. You can help by donating to conservation organizations and raising awareness of the issue!


Featured Image Credit: Alexas_fotos, Pixabay