Montshire Profile

Only Owls

October 2014

Current location
Only Owls will be on view in the upstairs traveling exhibit gallery through December 7, 2014.

Why owls?
Owls are magnificent creatures with exceptional characteristics.  They have been symbols of wisdom and knowledge in our culture for a long time. In literature and in art, we've thought of them as being mysterious, wise, and all-knowing. They have fascinated humans for centuries. 

Their distinctive attributes-sharp eyes that allow them to hunt at dawn and dusk; peculiar facial discs of feathers that direct sound to asymmetrically-placed ears; unique feather structure that allows nearly-silent flight; and more-make them ideal subjects for artistic interpretation.

Did you know?

  • A group of owls is called a parliament. Baby owls are called owlets.
  • Owls can turn their heads 270 degrees (but not all the way around to 360 degrees as we sometimes see in cartoons). Their necks, which contain 14 vertebrae, allow for this extreme of rotation.
  • Owls are the birds most similar to humans because of their upright posture and forward-facing eyes. Their forward-facing eyes give them excellent depth perception.
  • Owls have three eyelids: one for blinking, one that is closed when they sleep, and one for keeping their eyes clean and healthy.
  • There are over 150 species of owls in the world; 19 species are found in North America. 

Try this
After viewing the exhibition, visit The Cornell Lab of Ornithology: All About Birds  to learn more and hear the sounds made by common owls.


© Ron Kingswood