The order Strigiformes is where the owls of the world are placed in our classifications of
birds. Strigis is Latin for a female Screech Owl. The male was called strix. One
unique feature of all owls is that they can't move their eyes. To compensate, their short necks are
very flexible. They can turn their very large heads almost in a full circle. If you move around
behind them, they will turn their head to watch you without moving their bodies.
All owls are nocturnal (active at night). They hunt their small prey in the dark very well because
of two adaptations. Their large eyes make use of every bit of light available so they can see a
mouse as a shadow moving through a dark landscape. Second, they fly silently with no sound of
wind whistling through their feathers. Their prey get no warning, and huge claws carry them into
the night sky.
A great many owls make their nests in holes in trees. Their eggs are round and white. They carry
food back to the nest for their young, and it is often possible to find an owl's nest because of one
other strange habit they have. They don't digest the bones of their prey. Instead, they cough up
"castings" that fall to the ground below the nest, or their favourite roosting spot. These look like
a cat's hairball, but are often harder. Neatly packaged inside are all the bones of their victims.
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