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canvas bag with owls

Owls live in my neighborhood. Sometimes I hear them, sometimes I catch a glimpse of them silently flying in the dusk. Most probably they are Tawny Owls, Strix aluco, but I yet have to see them properly. I’m reading about owls and here are several things I have learned so far about my neighbors, nocturnal birds of prey.

„Ear“ tufts. Some owls, however not my neighbors, have them. The tufts are not ears and have nothing to do with hearing. Those are feathers that owls use in non-verbal communication, showing their mood, as well to assist them in camouflage.

Hearing. Exceptionally developed and the sense owls rely the most on while hunting. They are on the sides of the head, covered with feathers. The shape of the face and feathers around the eyes in the shape of a satellite dish help catching and channeling the sound. The direction of the sound source is determined by which ear hears the sound first. Some species have asymmetrically positioned ears, one higher and the other lower. That enables determining whether the sound source is higher or lover than the owl’s line of vision. Quick turn of the head serves to precisely determine the location of the sound source or the prey.

Eyesight. As they have great low light vision, it is considered that owls do not see well during the day. Not correct, they see well in day light as well. Their eyes adjust to wide range of light intensity. Most of the owls rest during the day, possibly the absence of activity is wrongly explained by poor day sight.

Eyes. Large in proportion to the head and of tubular shape. Due to that, owls can not move them inside the sockets, almost at all. The owl has to turn its head to look in a specific direction. That is why it has 14 neck vertebrae – humans have seven, so it can turn its head 1350 on each side.

Silent flight. Enabled by adjustments on wing feathers. As exception to other birds of prey, owls have soft feathers. Front edges of wing feathers ares serrated and the back edges are soft and fringed. All of that silences the sound of the air flowing over the wing, so the owl approaches its prey making almost no sound at all.

Fascinating, isn’t it?

Sofija and Karlo are owls that are gently looking at each other and listening to each other on a tote made from strengthened artist’s canvas. The bag is 35 cm high, 50 cm wide, the bottom is 40 cm long and 12 cm wide and it has been strengthened so the bag would keep the shape. Inside is made from brown cotton fabric and it hides tree pockets, one of which closes with a zipper, and a ribbon with a swivel clip. The tote has two handles that are 65 cm long, two outer pockets and it closes with magnetic snap button.