We love owls despite their spooky and mysterious nature because they are just so cute and adorable.
By the way, have you seen baby owls immediately after they hatch? They're adorable, aren't they?
They might look a little messy, but there is no denying that they are incredibly cute.
Some have few fur-like feathers, while others are completely bald. Their heads may look too big for them, and their necks too weak to support them.
In truth, their heads are actually too heavy for the baby owls. That is why they sleep by lying down on their stomachs with their heads lying on their side like humans.
Adult owls sleep sitting up. Interestingly, the baby owls manage to sleep lying down while still on tree branches.
However, the owls have a hallux, a back toe that attaches the bird to the branch.
What else do you know about this cute little bird?
Here are 10 facts you didn't know about baby owls. Be prepared to have your mind blown!
1. Their Name Is Special
Many little birds are simply called chicks, but not baby owls, which are called owlets. Many people are not aware of this.
2. A Baby Owl Is Born With A Tooth
Actually, this happens with all bird births. Owlets are born with an egg tooth, but it falls after a week or two.
3. Siblings Don't Hatch On The Same Day
Adult owls lay their eggs over a period of a few days. Therefore, the siblings are always different in size since they don't hatch on the same day.
In fact, the youngest might not make it through since the older siblings might win the survival battle at its expense.
Cruel and ruthless as this might seem, it is actually an important survival feature since it means at least a few baby owls will survive even if the years are especially tough.
4. They Can Get Attached To You
Unless you want to have an owl for a pet, you have to be very careful when handling them. Otherwise, they can easily get attached to you.
In fact, rescuers are usually extremely careful, and they even go to the lengths of covering themselves in camouflage clothing and resort to feeding the owlets with tweezers.
That goes to show just how easily you can imprint on a baby owl.
5. It's Better If You Leave Them Alone
You might one day find a baby owl on the ground. The good news is that you have nothing to be afraid of: they are meant to spend some time on the ground.
So, as long as they are near their nests, they are fine. You should avoid the temptation to take them home with you as they do better in their natural environment.
If the baby owl is injured, there is something you can do about it. The best option is to call animal rescue without causing any disturbance to the baby owl.
However, you can try to move it closer to the nest if that's a concern.
6. They Are Fast Growers
In general, birds of prey grow up fast. So, baby owls need just eight to nine weeks to attain their full adult weight and feathering.
Female owls are usually larger than their male counterparts. In about a year after hatching, the owls are usually ready to start mating.
However, it is just the female who sits on the nest. She has a brood patch, a featherless part of the abdomen that helps keep the eggs warm.
Owls eat small animals, in most cases, mice, rats, bats, and even rabbits. Usually, they focus on prey that is active at night.
Their hunting begins about an hour after sunset and ends an hour before sunrise. Occasionally, they may hunt during the day.
7. Baby Owls Are So Small
When fully mature, an owl can be two or three feet in size. However, at birth, an owlet is about as big as a baby chicken.
These owlets are fed pieces of the prey the parents store in their nests during the incubation period.
The parents tend to feed the strongest babies first, which might sound harsh but actually ensures survival when food is a problem.
However, in a period of about two weeks, small owls are usually able to consume entire prey on their own. At this point, the female may start hunting as well.
8. Their Parents Are Monogamous
In many cases, the parents of the baby owl remain together for life. During the incubation period, the male usually delivers food to the nest, with some being set aside for later use.
However, if one of the mates passes on, the other finds a new mate.
With barn owls, there have been reported cases of polygamy whereby pairs raise owlets by another mate.
Although a lot is not known about their mate selection process, males are believed to choose partners that have more spots.
9. They Don't Stay In The Nest For Long
The nest only acts as a home for the baby owls for about six weeks after hatching. However, this period depends on the owl species.
10. The Nests They're Born In Are Stolen
Owls never make their own nests. However, they need nests to have their little young ones.
That means they have to steal nests from other birds and use them to hatch their eggs and raise their young.
A Few More Things You Should Know About Owls
Typically, owls swallow small prey whole, including the bones and fur. The bones become a source of calcium and phosphorous, and what can't be digested is regurgitated as a pellet.
Owls also have excellent vision, and among all birds, they have the best stereoscopic vision.
They can judge distance excellently, and their large eyes give them amazing nocturnal vision, which is great when hunting and navigating in the dark.
Their big eyes are actually shaped like long tubes, making them hard to move within the sockets, unlike a human's.
Fortunately, they can turn their necks by up to 270 degrees with the help of 14 vertebrae in their necks. Most mammals have 7 vertebrates, which is half that amount.
Owls Have The Best Hearing Among Animals
Surprisingly, even though owls have great vision, their hearing is their greatest marvel. It is the best ever seen on any animal.
Incredibly, they can catch a mouse in the dark with nothing but their sense of hearing. Their ears are unevenly placed on their heads, and they point in slightly different directions so that they can hear without having to turn their heads.
An owl's ears are just slits on the side of the head that can be opened with small muscles around their faces. They are located at different heights on the sides of the head.
They are also able to direct sound towards their ears using different types of feathers around the ears and face.
As you can see, owls are as interesting as they are mysterious. Also, keep in mind that not all owl species have these attributes.
There are 250 different owl species, and while some can be as big as 3 feet, others are just 5 inches in size as adults. The one thing they have in common is that they are all predators, eating anything from insects to rodents and other owls.
Another fun fact is that a group of owls is actually called a parliament. They are also silent fliers, which is why they often catch their prey by surprise.