By Wendy Langhans
The sideways glance – it can mean so many things – everything from a flirtatious “lookin’ good” to a catty “I can’t believe she said that” to a threatening “if you do that one more time…..” But not all creatures have the ability to move their eyes side-to side or up-and-down.
Take Great Horned Owls, for example. Like humans, they have eyes that face forward. But, unlike humans, their eyes are fixed in their eye-sockets and cannot move. They also have have a smaller field of vision – 110°, compared to 180° for humans.
Great Horned Owl. Photo courtesy Lilian Darling Holt.
However, they make up for these deficiencies in two ways. First, they have extremely flexible necks. Where we have 7 vertebrae in our necks, Great Horned Owls have 14. This allows their head to rotate 270°, more than 3/4 of a circle.
Second, they have BIG EYES, almost the size of human eyes. But when you play the percentage game, the owl’s eyes-to-head ratio is ENORMOUS.
Docent Linda Ioerger with “Orion” at last week’s Placerita Canyon Open House.
This is going to require some trade-off’s. And there are two. One is the lack of eye muscles, which means no sideways glances. And the second is brain size. The Great Horned Owl has….are you suprised….a bird brain.
Upcoming Outdoor Events:
Saturday, June 27th, and every Wednesday, 8:00 AM. Trail Maintenance Volunteers at Towsley Canyon.
Come join our trail maintenance volunteers for camaraderie and a heart-thumping workout. For more information contact Steve Ioerger at 661-291-1565.
Saturday, June 27, 1:00-2:00 PM. Animal Presentation
See, learn and ask questions about live native animals of the area.
For more information, go to Placerita.org.
Tuesday, July 7, 7:30-9:30 PM. Full Moon Hike in Towsley Canyon. Wear close-toed shoes and bring water. An easy walk, suitable for families. For map and directions go here.
Sponsored by the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority.
You can listen to stories like this every Friday morning at 7:10 a.m. on “The Hike Report”, brought to you by your hometown radio station KHTS (AM1220) and by the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority.