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Name: McKenzie
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Question:
How far can a Snowy Owl see?


Replies:
Good question, but kind of hard to answer, because we can't get inside an owl's brain and see what it sees. We do know that most raptors (birds that hunt other animals for food) have sharper distance vision than humans. I have read that some hawks can distinguish details about 8 to 10 times farther than humans. I haven't seen a similar estimate for owls. An owl's eyes both face forward, like ours, while hawks' eyes are more on the sides of their heads, so there may be some differences in distance vision. Owls have larger eyes than hawks, which helps them see better in low light. Most owls also use hearing to help them find food.

J. Elliott


Owl vision is an interesting topic. Owls eyes are well adapted to low light conditions, but the Snowy Owl is active during the day, and commonly in snow areas. Snow reflects light well. I have not found many references to Snowy Owl vision, but they must have very acute vision for they can pick out a white coated hare in snow, a must for survival.

Steve Sample


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