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The Feathered Feet of Northern Owls

3-14-17 great gray owl2 164

Most owls have feathered legs, but the feet and toes of some owls, especially those living in colder, higher latitudes, are also densely feathered. The feathers keep the feet of these birds warm, allowing them to hunt where snow is on the ground and temperatures are very low. Great Gray Owls (pictured), Snowy Owls and Northern Hawk Owls are all examples of this phenomenon. Owls living in warmer climes, such as Barn Owls, have sparsely feathered feet and toes, and tropical owls have nearly featherless feet. This variation can also be found within a given species that has a range that extends over many degrees of latitude, such as the Barred Owl.

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11 responses

  1. Diane

    That is a great photo!

    March 14, 2017 at 9:03 am

  2. Lily Belisle

    AWESOME PIC!!! Love the eyes and the talons!

    March 14, 2017 at 9:07 am

  3. Alice Pratt

    Good to have warm feet when you are a hunter! Gorgeous camera capture, must have been “great” fun to see! 🦉

    March 14, 2017 at 9:46 am

  4. Holy raptor! If you hadn’t identified this photo, I’m not sure I would have known it was an owl! What a remarkable sight!!

    March 14, 2017 at 10:40 am

  5. Warner Historical

    Great photo of the Northern Owl!

    March 14, 2017 at 11:10 am

  6. Cheron barton

    Interesting!! Humm… wonder if ANY owls are out & about today??!!

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

    March 14, 2017 at 11:11 am

  7. Kathie Fiveash

    Wow, Mary! What a beautiful photograph. Have you seen this amazing slow motion video of an eagle owl? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=37MNE8tOBG4

    March 14, 2017 at 12:13 pm

    • Yes, that’s a great one! I recently saw a photo someone took of the great gray owl I photographed landing on someone’s head!!! Wish I’d been there.

      March 14, 2017 at 2:02 pm

  8. Beautiful photo Mary! I just love his fluffy, tan leggings! (I’ve been over to see him now almost every day ; )

    March 14, 2017 at 12:40 pm

    • Alice Pratt

      Wow! Lucky you!

      March 14, 2017 at 3:28 pm

  9. Great capture, Mary!

    March 14, 2017 at 3:08 pm

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