We had a visit from a wonderful Mass Audubon bird expert. She brought three birds, one of them a screech owl. We knew from our earlier study of owls that these birds have hollow bones and special feathers, making it easy for them to fly quickly and soundlessly through the night sky in search of prey.
We also learned that an owl can hear a mouse rustling in the grass as far as a mile away. An owl has extraordinary hearing because of paired ears on either side of its head that are oriented in different directions. The owl's flat face acts like a satellite dish, gathering sound waves that are directed to its ears by stiff feathers around the edge of the facial disk. What look like pointed ears on top of the head of the screech owl are not ears at all, but rather tufts of feathers. What a cunning little owl. We were so glad he came to visit! Here is a fascinating recent article about owls.