Owl’s the sound from the satellite?

Sound. Shape. Satellite dishes.  And how owls hunt for food with their faces and ears.


owl owls hunt mouse face satellite dish hearing

1-Minute NomNom

How do owls get their nom noms?

One way of course is with their incredible eyesight. What we don’t hear, pun intended, about as much is their keen hearing. Even when they cannot see their prey, they can hear and hunt them down.

This sharp sense of sound comes from three features. First, their faces are shaped just like our satellite dishes. This shape funnels sounds they hear towards their ears.

owls owl face shape sound satellite dish face prey hunt

owls owl satellite dish face hunt preyThe acute sensitivity is heightened by the stiffer feathers around the circumference of their face, which also help to channel sounds to the ears.

Third, owls have one ear that is lower than the other. That helps the owl to detect if the prey is above or below (depending on whether the higher or lower ear hears the prey first), in addition to whether the prey is on the left or right. You can imagine this is like 3D sound. You can see all this explained in this neat BBC video:

Owl’s that for the science of shape, sound, and height?

Second Helpings

Sound works for owls in another way. They can swoop on their prey and catch them  by complete surprise because their flight is so silent. Just watch this video that uses ultra-sensititve microphones to track, trace and visualize the sound waves (i.e. the decibel wave forms) created by different birds as they fly.


Screen Shot 2015-01-10 at 6.02.39 pmLike this? Sounds like it is time to like us to discover more. All you need is a minute a day to explore the world’s marvels through the phenomenon of food!

photos: in order – pixabay/Comfreak; pixabay/terii2000; pixabay/WikiImages


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