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Owls

Owls are abundantthroughout the entire United States and they are well-represented in the Laurel Lake area. Owls are birds of prey. Owls are nocturnal,specialized predators which are adapted to find, catch, and kill prey quickly and effectively.

The owl's plumage is soft and dense, making them appear heavierthan they actually are. Their drab colored feathers serve as camouflage to help the owl blend into the background of the woodland in which they live. The thick feathers on the owl's legs provide protection from bites by the owl's prey. Both sexes are colored alike, but females are larger and heavier than males.

Many unusual and highly developed adaptations help the owl to survive. Extremely huge retinas make owls vision 50 to 100 times more efficient than human sight at discriminating among tiny objects in dim light. These retinas are thickly packed with rods.Although owls can't distinguish colors well, they have strong binocular vision and tremendous depth perception. The owl's eyes are fixed in the skull. Owls must move their heads in order to seethings at their sides. Some owls can turn their heads over 270 degrees.

The owl's head contains a pair of highly specialized ears. Owls are able to hear sounds much lower than those of humans. This hearing enables owls to catch prey even in total darkness.

Most owls call to attract members of the opposite sex during mating season. They do not build nests, but often take over nests of crows and/or holes in trees. They may add lining materials toexisting nests.

Owls usually lay 3 to 5 eggs.Incubation is usually the female's responsibility while the male brings food to the female. Both male and female owls feed the young. By the time the fledglings leave the nest, even the most awkward can find prey.

Owls usually catch and kill the prey that is easiest to catch.Owls seen in Laurel Lake area include: short-eared owls, barn owls,screech owls, great-horned owls, saw-whet owls, long-eared owls,and barred owls.