I am not very big – only 250 mm from my head to my feet. My wings are big compared to my body – they measure 850 mm.
I have one talon that is a comb to keep my facial disc groomed.
I have one ear that is higher than the other.
I am equipped with three eyelids.
I have good vision, with a field of view of 110 degrees from centre to outer, 70 degrees being Binocular from the centre and 20 degrees either side being Monocular vision.
My eyes are big and special but I can’t roll them – only look straight ahead.
My feet have four toes, so when I fly three face forward and one faces back.
When I sit on a branch or when holding my prey, my outer toe in each foot swivels to face the rear.
When I make a strike on my prey, I open my feet as wide as they can go to give me more chance of capturing it.
My beak is curved downwards so I can keep my field of view clear.
When it is hot, I open my beak like a dog does to cool down.
I can hunt in complete darkness, and I fly silently due to my special feathers that muffle the sound of air rushing over the surface of my wings.
My hunting technique is called Quartering.
When I hear a sound from the grass in my left ear, I turn my head and the sound is picked up in the right – this then guides me to my prey.
I keep the prey directly in front of me where I last heard the sound, and just before I strike I pull my head back and thrust my feet forward with talons wide. Two facing forward and two facing back.
My prey will die quickly as the force I hit it with usually stuns it, and with a quick snap on my beak finishes it off.
I hope you like my facts and follow Ron’s stories, as I am his favourite bird and he works hard every year to educate people and let them know how hard my life is.
With my habitat disappearing, the weather stops me hunting if there is wind or it rains. My owlets need 5000 voles to get them to fledging, that’s if it is a good year for voles. Water troughs are a killer, roads and traffic take many of my species.
I will fly silently again so that Ron can capture his amazing images of me.
From The White Angel.