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On the Wild Side: Strange news from the World of Wildlife!

Eyes Wide Shut

The Barn Owl knows what it likes: rodents. It likes rodents so much, in fact, that it devours a half-dozen or so every night. That's a lot of hunting to be done in the dark, especially for a creature with relatively poor eyesight.

The Barn Owl succeeds thanks in large part to its hearing, which can detect a rodent's nocturnal movements from hundreds of feet away. Indeed, the Barn Owl is believed to have the most sensitive hearing of all land animals. One reason is that its heart-shaped face helps direct sounds into its ears. (Satellite dishes use a similar design principle.) The Barn Owl can even fine-tune the signal by moving its feathers and thereby changing the shape of its face. Also, the Barn Owl's ears are situated asymmetrically on its head, with one higher and closer to the front than the other, which enhances the bird's ability to locate sounds.

Click here to learn more about the Barn Owl.