Despite the aching aftermath of my fall Monday, I was lured through the snow to the woods late this afternoon. I went out to feed the birds about 4:30 and heard the male Great Horned Owl calling. Got some nice film and this photo.
Whenever he had the back of his head to me, he would snap it back around to stare if I so much as crunched the snow by shifting my weight. He was probably fifty yards away, but their hearing is phenomenal. Their facial disks help direct sound to their ears. (Those tufts on top of their heads are just feathers, not ears.) One ear is set slightly higher than the other and at a different angle, so that they can pinpoint sound with laser accuracy. They don’t have to figure out where a sound originated. They know. And my little snow crunchy noises would reverberate in his ears as loudly as a telephone book dropped on a hardwood floor.