• Bird Academy
      Bird Academy
      Compare your thoughts from before this lesson to what you know now about owl diets. Do any of owls' prey items surprise you?
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    • Earl
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      The Powerful Owl eating Flying Foxes and Wallabies was a surprise.
    • ZELALEM
      Participant
      Chirps: 3
      As I am familiar with different owls of Africa and I have already encountered some of them hunting different pray by adaptation to their habitat, I found no surprise.  But, I have to say those special species of fishing and fish owls hunting fish as their pray are extraordinary!!!
    • Carolyn
      Participant
      Chirps: 11
      I was lucky to go on an owl prowl at night in Seward Park, Seattle. We heard 2 types of owls but didn’t see any. Our park guide took us to the base of a butcher tree & dissected some owl pellets which were remarkable. The contents were mostly indigestible parts of mice & voles so I was really surprised to hear about fish eating owls & also the primarily insect diets of the smallest owls.
    • The biggest surprise was the size of their potential prey, especially for the large owl species.  I was not surprised to see diversity, when I think about the presence of different species in many very different habitats.
    • I learned about fish owls a few months ago, when I read Owls of the Eastern Ice: A Quest to Find and Save the World's Largest Owl by Jonathan C. Slaght. This book was really interesting and included a lot of amazing photos of Blakiston's fish owls; I definitely recommend it to anyone interested in owls! I didn't know that some owls eat insects- very cool fact!
    • I'm not really surprised, as I already had a general idea of what owls ate, even the fish owls as I had read a book on them. However, I still found the slides interesting because they covered owl species that I don't know well and enjoyed learning more about them.
    • Andrea
      Participant
      Chirps: 3
      I was definitely surprised by fish (I didn't expect it to be part of any owl's diet), immediately followed by possums (I didn't think owls could eat prey that large).
    • Kurt
      Participant
      Chirps: 29
      I had never heard of fish owls before, it was surprising that certain types of owls eat fish! They would need to rely on their eyes over their ears. I had also never considered that larger owls might consume insects or arachnids. (I wonder what the pellets of an owl appear like when they consume invertebrates or amphibians)
    • Nik
      Participant
      Chirps: 4
      I think I was most surprised by insects. I'm pretty new to birding, and I don't think I had considered the diet of smaller owls before.
    • Sandy
      Participant
      Chirps: 7
      how big the prey can. be. Also that they eat beetles
    • Melanie
      Participant
      Chirps: 12
      The variety of their diets is amazing. Probably why some owls are so successful. I am surprised at how many eat insects. Owls are such an important part of our ecosystem!
    • Li
      Participant
      Chirps: 33
      I didn't know that owls eat moths、fish and beetles!
    • Dawn
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      I didn't know that owls eat moths!
    • Carol
      Participant
      Chirps: 5
      I was not surprised that large owls, such as the Cape Eagle-Owl and the Powerful Owl hunted mammals rather than smaller prey, but I was surprised that a small owl, such as the Northern Pygmy-Owl, was a skilled predator of birds and small mammals.
    • Debra
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      Did not know some owls ate fish. I have watched vet shows and am amazed at the ratcheting grip of these birds that allow them to hang onto heavy prey.
    • Alicia
      Participant
      Chirps: 24
      Yes! I had no idea there were species of owls that specialize in eating fish.
    • Paul
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      I was not really suprised at owl diets.  I volunteer for a raptor rescue organization.  When we release rehabbed owls we do it at specific times of day.  For instance, Screech Owls are released at dusk near businesses that have large parking lots with lots of lights and with a body of water nearby.  The parking lot lights attract lots of flying insects which the owls love.  We also release Barred Owls at dusk since they are night hunters.  Releasing them at dusk allows them to get familiar with their surroundings.  Our rule of thumb is owls with yellow eyes hunt for food at dawn and dusk (one yellow eye representing sunrise and the other representing sunset).  Owls with dark eyes, like the Barred Owl, hunt in the dark.  It isn't mentioned here specifically but a Barred Owl can hear a human heart beat from 20 feet away.  Pitty the poor menu item moving below that owl's perch. I did not know that Barn Owls are the most common owl across the globe.
      • Hi Paul, I had never heard those sayings about owl eyes in my time with wildlife rehabilitation. Thank you for sharing as they are now phrases that I will keep with me in the back of my head. It was also interesting to see the Barred Owls could hear so far.
    • Annie
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      yes!! i did NOT know that owls eat opossums! so cool! i also did not know that so many owls ate insects. I hope one day to come and study ornithology at cornell! -Annie 12, Canada
      • Melanie
        Participant
        Chirps: 12
        As a teacher, I am SO excited to see a young person so interested in owls and ornithology!! Keep up the great work, Annie.
    • benoit
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      I was surprised to know that a the eagle Owl can catch and eat a Peregirne falcon
    • Loretta
      Participant
      Chirps: 5
      The owls' prey items in this section do not really surprise me. I have always known most eat small mammals, fish, insects, rabbits, rodents, etc. Even though I knew of amphibians and reptiles, the owls in my area mainly eat small mammals. I have even witnessed one trying to pick up my friend's dog. Luckily it missed and flew off. I did have another friend who had one pick her weenie dog up in their back yard, taking it pretty high up before dropping it. The talons did do some damage, but not as bad as it could have been.
    • Janet
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      Cape Eagle Owl... eats... Yellow-spotted Rock Hyrax.  This owl lives in some countries in Africa.  I've never heard of the Rock Hyrax! Cross between a rabbit and a woodchuck.  And,... they make a sound that is more like a bird than a mammal!  Check them out.. they are cute..... https://kidadl.com/animal-facts/rock-hyrax-facts
      • Melanie
        Participant
        Chirps: 12
        I am visiting this website that you recommended. I remember as a youngster, watching Born Free (and reading it) and being fascinated with Joy's pet hyrax, Patty. Thanks for reminding me of how cool these critters are!
    • Maria
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      The fact that owls eat insects surprised me!   I guess some of the insects, specially in the tropical areas can be quite large.
    • Nancy
      Participant
      Chirps: 4
      WOW! I had no idea that Snowy Owls include ducks to their diet and some owls eat possums and squirrels. This course provides  in depth information that is fascinating.
    • Lynne
      Participant
      Chirps: 3
      I did not know much about owl diets and I am really surprised that some can eat prey that size of rabbits, cats and ducks! Astounds me that they can lift animals of that size.