The Silver Chair, the second last book in the Chronicles of Narnia series by C.S. Lewis got me interested in Glimfeather’s species. Glimfeather is an owl. I’ve always found owls a bit creepy and cute. I know, weird combination… I mean they have lovely eyes but in many communities, they are a superstitious bird species because of their nocturnal activities. Here are 7 interesting facts about them. Some have been accompanied with excerpts (in italics) from the Silver Chair.
1.Owls are part of a group of birds called raptors. Raptors are birds of prey that feed and hunt insects, small mammals and other birds. Some owl species hunt fish.
The Owl snapped at something which Jill couldn’t see.
“Oh, don’t, please!” said Jill. “Don’t jerk like that. You nearly threw me off.”
“I beg your pardon,” said the Owl. “I was just nabbing a bat. There’s nothing so sustaining, in a small way, as a nice plump little bat. Shall I catch you one?”
“No, thanks,” said Jill with a shudder.
2.There are more than 100 owl species. See here.
3. Owls are nocturnal.
“You see,” explained Glimfeather, “most of the creatures in Narnia have such unnatural habits. They do things by day, in broad blazing sunlight (ugh!) when everyone ought to be asleep. And, as a result, at night they’re so blind and stupid that you can’t get a word out of them. So we owls have got into the habit of meeting at sensible hours, on our own, when we want to talk about things.
4. Owls have pretty unique eyes.
First, they have 3 eyelids to protect their eyes. A normal upper eyelid which closes when an owl blinks, a normal lower eyelid which closes up when the owl is asleep and a thin layer of tissue known as a nictitating membrane that closes diagonally to clean and protect the eye surface.
Second, they don’t really have eyeballs but instead have elongated tubes that are held in place by bony structures in the skull known as sclerotic rings. These eyes provide binocular vision which allows them to focus on their prey and increases depth perception. So owls can only look straight ahead. They cannot move their eyes.
However…their necks make up for this…
5. Owls can rotate their necks up to 270 degrees in either direction! A blood-pooling system collects blood to power their brains and eyes when neck movement cuts off circulation.
6. Many owl species have asymmetrical ears. When located at different heights on the owl’s head, their ears are able to pinpoint the location of sounds in multiple dimensions
7. A group of owls is called a parliament of owls.
“Now,” said Glimfeather, “I think we’re all here. Let us hold a parliament of owls.”