Owls belong to the order Strigiformes, a group of birds that includes 205 different species. These species are divided into two groups, categorized as true owls and barn owls. True owls are the largest group, comprised of 189 species, while there exists only 16 species of Barn owls. The Maine Audubon Society lists, 11 species of owls live in or call Maine home for a portion of the year. Owls live in a wide variety of habitats including dense forests, open woodlands, clear-cuts, and even urban environments.
Owls have well-developed binocular vision and special designed faces and ear tufts that funnel sounds, allowing them to hunt effectively at night. Owls feed on a wide variety of prey, including rodents, reptiles, birds, insects and rabbits. Since owls do not have teeth, they swallow small prey whole and later regurgitate bone, fur and feathers.
In January through March, male owls pick a nest site. Owls make little effort to construct elaborate nest, instead preferring to nest in hollowed out trees, on rock ledges, the top of power-line towers or in hay lofts. Some species will even take over the nests of other bird species. During this time, male owls will attempts to attract females. Owls produce a wide distribution of calls to both find potential mates and frighten off any potential competitors. Female owls lay two to three eggs that incubate for about a month before hatching. Both parents feed and care for the young till they can fly by ten weeks of age. The mortality rate on owlets is about 50 percent, with many dying due to predators and accidents with man. Owls in the wild have been known to survive to 13 years of age with a few captive birds living to 30 years of age.
Wildlife Quiz Questions:
1. To what order do owls belong?
2. How many different species of owls exist?
3. What are the two different categories of owls?
4. How many owls live in or frequent Maine?
5. In what kind of habitats do owls live?
6. What do owls eat?
7. At what time of year do owls pick out nesting sites?
8. How many eggs do owls typically lay?
Wildlife Quiz Answers:
1. Owls belong to the order Strigiformes
2. There exist 205 different species of owls.
3. The two categories of owls are true owls and barn owls.
4. Eleven different species of owls live in or frequent Maine.
5. Owls live in a wide variety of habitats including dense forests, open woodlands, clear-cuts, and even urban environments.
6. Owls feed on a wide variety of prey, including rodents, reptiles, birds, insects and rabbits.
7. Owls pick out nesting sites in January-March.
8. Female owls lay two to three eggs that incubate for about a month before hatching.