I have a new tradition of drawing Christmas Cards every year. I will have a couple owls this year. This is the first, a simple and fun Snowy Owl and falling snow.
During my research and reading for this project I’ve learned a lot of things about owls. I thought I’d share some of the more interesting and quirky facts I’ve come across. So, here are 10 fun owl facts.
1. Elf owls are known to play dead when caught.
2. If spotted during the day Owls are often “mobbed” or followed and pestered by groups of smaller birds. Crows will mob Great Horned Owls, chickadees will mob Northern Pygmy Owls.
3. Northern Pygmy Owls have dark markings on the back of their head, a set of “false eyes” to confuse predators and groups of mobbing birds. Check out this video! http://www.flickr.com/photos/hone-preston/6824590598/
They can also easily be mistaken for a pine cone!
Northern Pygmy Owl. Photo by brodman’s 17 on Flickr
4. In Winter Short-eared Owls gather in large groups, these roosts can include up to 200 owls.
5. Owls’ ears are at different heights on its head enabling them to directionally pinpoint a sound. Great Grey and Northern Saw-Whet Owls are so good at this they can catch prey hidden under snow.
Great Grey Owl. Photo by Juan Pons
6. The “horns” or ear tufts on some owls aren’t really ears (or horns). They are feather tufts thought to be used for camouflage and silent communication.
7. Snowy Owls aggressively defend their nest sites, driving away Arctic Foxes and even Wolves by dive bombing. Geese and ducks are known to nest near Snowy Owls to take advantage of this, even though they are potential prey of the owls. It’s thought Snowies often don’t hunt near their nest sites.
8. Burrowing owlets will mimic a rattlesnake’s rattle to scare predators.
Burrowing Owl. Photo by Muriel on Flickr
9. Great Horned Owls are very adaptable. Their range covers the majority of North America, Central America, and parts of South America. They live in a wide variety of habitats, including deserts, suburbs, swamps, and northern Boreal forests.
Great Horned Owl. Photo by Ed Post on Flickr
10. Sometimes Owls will store extra food if there is an over abundance. In cold climates owls like the Northern Saw-Whet will sit on their leftovers to thaw it.
That’s it for now, hope you enjoyed them! Thanks to these photographers that allowed me to use these amazing owl photos!
Snowy Owl and route 2 road sign
Print available in my shop
Illustration #11: Snowy Owl flying along a cold coast.
So much of my work this past year has been inspired by my trip to Maine. Here is another one, based on Goat Island Lighthouse.
The gray wintery day seemed appropriate for the cold snap we are having here in Maryland. Especially pleased with this colors of this one.