Did you know that not all owls are nocturnal (active at night)? Half of the owl species native to British Columbia actually hunt during the day. Owls are efficient predators. They have excellent vision, with very large pupils that let in enough light to see at night. Their hearing is also very good; their faces are elliptically shaped to direct sound to their ears, which are offset, rather than symmetrical, allowing them to hone in on sounds due to the slight difference in reception time. Owl feathers are specialized for silent, stealthy flight. The leading edge of their feathers are serrated, like a comb, while the trailing edge is uneven; these features reduce air turbulence which otherwise creates sound when most birds fly.

Some of the owls that have been sighted on southern Vancouver Island include the following. Of these, the western screech owl and barn owl are considered threatened.

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Barn owl
 (Tito alba)

 

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 Western Screech owl (Otis kennicottii)

 


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Barred Owl (Strix varia) along the Gorge Waterway (photo Jody Watson)

 

owl4 pygmy owl
Great horned owl (Bubo virginianus)

 

northern pygmy owl  220 x136 hh
Northern Pygmy owl (Glaucidium californicum)

 

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Northern saw whet owl (Aegolius acadicus)

 

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Short-eared owl (Asio flammeus)

 

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Snowy owl (Bubo scandiacus)

 

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