The owl belongs to the order Strigiformes and is a nocturnal bird of prey, with over 180 species worldwide.

Owl's eyes are not positioned on the sides of the head like other birds, but rather in the front.

Their large eyes can only look forward, so when they need to look sideways, they must rotate their heads. Owls have long and flexible necks capable of rotating 270 degrees. As nocturnal hunters, their hearing is extremely sharp, with their ears not on the same level, aiding in pinpointing the correct location of ground prey based on sound.

Owls are one of the most widely distributed bird species worldwide, except in the polar regions, they can be found almost everywhere. They rely entirely on capturing live animals for food. The size of their prey depends on the owl's body size, ranging from insects to rabbits.

The feathers around their eyes form a facial disc, and their beaks and claws are curved like hooks. Their feathers are mostly brown with scattered fine spots, dense and soft, enabling silent flight. They are active at night and dusk, primarily feeding on rodents, sometimes also preying on small birds or large insects.

Many owls are skilled rodent hunters. Ornithologists have conducted studies showing that a single owl can catch around 1000 rodents in one summer, whereas a single rodent can consume about 1 kilogram of grain in the summer. Based on this calculation, an owl can protect about one ton of grain for humans in one summer, which is a remarkable number. So, how do owls catch rodents?

Ornithologists have long studied how owls catch rodents. Owl's eyeballs are tubular-shaped, likened to miniature telescopes. The retina of an owl's eye is rich in rod cells, which can sense external light signals, allowing them to perceive extremely weak light. If bird eyes are compared to cameras, most birds active during the day have small aperture standard lenses, while owl's eyes have large aperture, long focal length telephoto lenses.

Therefore, for a long time, it was believed that owls fly and hunt in the dark relying on vision. However, further research by ornithologists found that the owl's hearing is very sensitive and plays a primary role in locating prey in pitch-dark environments. The ears of an owl are asymmetrical, with the left ear canal significantly wider than the right, and the left ear has a well-developed eardrum.

The auditory nerves of owls are well developed, with a 300-gram owl having about 95,000 auditory nerve cells, while a crow weighing about 600 grams has only 27,000. Additionally, the owl's face is densely covered with stiff feathers forming a facial disc, which serves as an excellent sound collector.

The large head of an owl increases the distance between the ears, enhancing the resolution of sound waves. When an owl searches for prey in a dark environment, its initial reaction to a sound is to turn its head, similar to humans tilting their heads to listen for faint noises.

However, owls do not tilt their heads; the purpose of turning their heads is to create a time difference in the transmission of sound to the left and right ears. When this time difference exceeds 30 microseconds, owls can accurately determine the direction of the sound source. Once an owl determines the direction of its prey, it quickly attacks.

Both vision and hearing play complementary roles in the hunting process of owls, allowing them to become efficient nocturnal hunters, well adapted to their nighttime lifestyle.

As a top nocturnal predator, the owl not only brings balance to ecosystems but also plays an important role in human history by protecting farmland from rodent infestations. Therefore, the owl is not just a bird species but also an outstanding representative of biodiversity and adaptability in the natural world.