WHAT A HOOT!!! by Montana Grant
By angelamontana

Posted: February 16, 2024

Owls are a Montana thing. To the native peoples, owls had magical powers. The sight of an owl during the day meant that you would be close to death soon. Either you or someone close was in mortal danger. Since Owls are mainly nocturnal, they have a reputation as bad omens. 

Owls are excellent hunters. They stalk and capture their prey without a sound. A single barn owl can eat over 1,000 mice a year! Larger Great Horned and Snowy owls are big enough to target turkeys! 

The owls’ feathers are their best hunting feature. Sure, they have great sight, hearing, sharp talons, and wide, strong wings, but the feathers are layered in such a way as to direct air and noise efficiently. Their ears have layers of feathers that guide sound to their heads. Their entire face acts like a huge ear. They can hear sounds that are 10 times fainter than a human can hear. 

Once an owl hears a sound, it can triangulate the exact position of the noise. In a moment they glide to their source and strike. Most birds have large eyes, but the owls’ eyes are the biggest. The eye is fixed in place, but the unique neck and head can traverse 270 degrees. 

Owl eyes are excellent during both day and nighttime. At night, their pupils open completely to allow as much light as possible to enter their eyes. During the day, this pupil is the size of a pinpoint. Owl eyes are 10 times more light sensitive than humans. Due to a lack of cone cells in their eyes, vision is black and white. 

Owls swallow their prey whole. Once the meat is digested, they regurgitate the rest. These pellets can be found under their tree roosts. 

There are many species of owls, each adapted to their different habitats. Some owls make traditional Hooting sounds. Others screech or make startling sounds that seem to wake the dead. 

Since owls have relatively long lives, they can also be considered wise. Larger owls have been known to live longer than 25 year!

Hoot, Hoot, Hoot!

Montana Grant

New Podcast!

Riley's Meats - Butte Wild Game Processing