|Powerful Owl at a typical day time roost- a bare near-horizontal branch close to the trunk of the tree for perching and a Boobialla tree providing screening and shade.|
|The classic full frontal Powerful Owl portrait with piercing yellow/orange eyes instantly drawing our attention. The pupils are partly dilated in the shady roost location.|
Unlike human eyes that swivel in their sockets owl eyes are fixed, so to look at something directly, owls must move their heads and face the object of their attention.
|This head side-on photo was possible because the owl is looking to its right at another photographer.|
|Close to a full side-on head profile which shows the rictal bristles well. The sharply pointed hooked bill used for ripping flesh is also apparent.|
Many bird species have rictal bristles including owls. However the purpose of these bristles is not clear. One function proposed for these bristles is sensory. For nocturnal birds such as owls, the bristles may help detect sound. My thought is the bristles may help protect the eyes. For a night flying bird the risk of hitting something like fine leaves is high and the consequences of eye damage is serious so perhaps the rictal bristles when encountering any foreign object cause the eyes to automatically close. This of course is pure speculation on my part.