Owls are some of the world’s most interesting creatures. There are some 250 owl species living on every continent except Antarctica. People have associated owls with wisdom, mythical guidance, protection, and even death. The truth is that owls are essential in God’s system of life. Here are four interesting facts about owls:
#1. OWLS CAN TURN THEIR HEADS 270 DEGREES. Johns Hopkins researchers discovered that owls have a reservoir under their jaw to prevent the blood supply to their brains from being cut off when they rotate their heads. They also have extra neck vertebrae allowing them to turn their heads to that extreme angle.
#2. OWLS CANNOT MOVE THEIR EYES. Owl eyes make up 5% of the animal’s body weight, while human eyes make up .0003% of our body weight. Their huge eyes have pupils that can dilate extra wide and a reflective layer at the back of their eyes to give them exceptional night vision. In addition, their eyes are designed to provide them with binocular vision, giving them excellent depth perception and the ability to judge distances.
#3. OWLS HAVE HEARING THAT ALLOWS TRIANGULATION. Some owls have asymmetrically arranged ears, with one slightly higher than the other. That allows them to judge the direction of sound vertically as well as left to right. For example, sound from a rodent will reach one ear sooner than the other, and the owl uses this difference to triangulate the distance to the source of the sound, even if under snow or leaf piles.
#4. OWLS HAVE SOUND BAFFLES ON THEIR WINGS. The feathers on the leading edges of their wings have comblike structures that dampen air turbulence and eliminate the “whooshing” noise in flight. They also have finer feathers on the top and trailing edges of their wings to break up the sound. These features allow almost silent flight when hunting prey. Engineers have copied this design to build quieter aircraft and drones.
Owls are essential in God’s system of life to control rodent populations. Most of us are unaware of the great service they provide because they carry out most of their activity at night. Owls are an excellent example of the specialized design God built into the creation to make planet Earth suitable for human habitation. No other land animal demonstrates all of these unique characteristics making chance evolutionary theories difficult to support. Indeed “we can know there is a God through the things He has made” (Romans 1:20).
— John N. Clayton © 2023