3 min read

8 Reasons Why Today Is The Day You'll Start Loving Owls

<p>Mark A Coleman/Flickr/CC BY 2.0</p>

As wizard mail carriers or harbingers of death, owls have portrayed some of the strangest animal characters in human culture. Although owls aren't actually portents of doom - or the wisest animals on the planet (in fact, crows, ravens and parrots are the true avian prodigies) - these birds do have their share of unique and charming traits. Here's why it's high time you were an owl fan:

1. Owls Can Rotate Their Heads 270 Degrees

(SciFri/YouTube)

Lots of little neck bones and flexible arteries let owls spin their heads 270 degrees. Humans can rotate our heads less than a third of that.

2. They're Like Nature's Pest Control

(Airwolfhound/Flickr/CC BY 2.0)

In the span of a year, a breeding barn owl and her chicks will catch and consume about 5,000 rats.

3. They Look Pretty Cozy In Blankets

(Morgan Hill Times)

Veterinarians use blankets to wrap injured owls and keep the animals calm during care.

4. Owls Fly In Perpetual Stealth Mode

(mcamcamca/Flickr/CC BY 2.0)

Tiny ridges on the edge of owl feathers muffle the sound of flapping wings - an adaptation that lets the birds swoop in on unsuspecting prey.

5. A Few Owls Are Giant

(Robert tdc/Wikimedia)

Blakiston's fish owls, who live in the forests of eastern Russia, have wings that stretch six feet wide.

6. Others Are Tiny

(Dominic Sherony/Flickr/CC BY 2.0)

Found in the American southwest, the elf owl is five-and-a-half inches long.

7. Snowy Owls Feel At Home Miles From Shore

(m01229/Flickr/CC BY 2.0)

Snowy owls will range far over the Arctic sea ice in search of food, Canadian scientists were surprised to find in 2008. Satellites tracked six adult owls flying huge distances over the polar cap, likely hunting sea birds.

8. Yawning Owls
(Cephas/Wikimedia)

Enough said.