Owl

Owl’s Silent Flight May Inspire Quiet Aircraft Tech

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: December 17, 2004   View Article

A few years ago, the silent brush of a barn owl’s wing sent Trish Nixon reeling from her porch in the still of the night. She never heard the owl, just saw its “ghostly white form float past.”

Nixon is a raptor specialist with The Peregrine Fund in Boise, Idaho. She often speaks about the silent flight of owls, but the porch incident spoke to her louder than words. “The owl lifted from the ground, and I didn’t hear a sound, which is why I totally lost my cool when a wing brushed against me,” she said.

Owls Use Dung to “Fish” for Beetles

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: September 1, 2004   View Article

Burrowing owls have an affinity for the dung of other animals. Their underground nests and surrounding areas are carpeted with the stinky stuff. Now a team of researchers has found at least one reason why all this fecal matter matters to the owls: It’s bait for dung beetles, the owls’ favorite grub.

The research, reported in today’s issue of the science journal Nature, demonstrates that burrowing owls (Athene cunicularia) deliberately use mammal dung as a tool to reel in a meal—and in the process substantially increase the number of dung beetles they eat.

© 2008-2010 Collected Writings By John Roach