A Snowy Looks Up

Here’s a shot of a snowy owl taken one winter on the BC coast as it looks up at another owl flying overhead. I learnt an interesting fact about owls recently, in that an owl’s eyes can account for up to five percent of its body weight and that they cannot move their eyes like other animals and birds do. The reason for this is the make up of their eye that enables them to see so well at night. Their eyes are more tube like in the socket rather than round like ours and all eyes are made up of ‘rods and cornea’, which are light and colour sensing cells.  But, because of their necessity for such strong vision, they have an extraordinary amount of rods to cornea ratio to facilitate this, so they see more light and less colour. The cost of this super sense are bony plates to hold the rods in place, this means an inability to move the eye as we do. To make up for this however, they can swivel their heads 270 degrees around and 90 degrees up and down. This explains why they look so awkward sometimes when you see one looking around and having to move their entire head.

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