There are things that we may have believed our entire life but that doesn’t necessarily make them true. One thing that is a very common myth is that owls are able to spin their heads in a full circle. After all, we’ve been seeing it in cartoons since we were little children, but let’s look at the facts.
Although I hate to burst your bubble, owls are not really able to spin their heads in a full circle. But that doesn’t mean that they can’t do some amazing things with their neck.
After all, they can turn their head 270° to the left or to the right. In other words, they can turn their heads 3/4 of the way around, but not the whole way.
t’s easy to see how people would think that owls are able to spin their heads completely around. After all, they get a lot closer than any human is able to do. This may make you wonder how owls are able to turn their heads that far and why they do it.
If you look at owls versus other birds, there is something that may have escaped your notice. Most birds have eyes on both sides of their heads but owls have eyes that look straight ahead.
It really cuts down on their peripheral vision, similar to what humans have to deal with. They have the ability to turn their head that far around and quickly so they can keep an eye on their surroundings.
This may make you wonder why owls are able to turn their heads that far around. One of the reasons is that they have a lot of bones in their neck, so they have much more range of motion than humans.
They also have more arteries, including some that start working when the main arteries are pinched. It keeps them from bleeding or breaking, which is what would happen if humans were to try to rotate their necks that far around.
I am broadly interested in how human activities influence the ability of wildlife to persist in the modified environments that we create.
Specifically, my research investigates how the configuration and composition of landscapes influence the movement and population dynamics of forest birds. Both natural and human-derived fragmenting of habitat can influence where birds settle, how they access the resources they need to survive and reproduce, and these factors in turn affect population demographics. Most recently, I have been studying the ability of individuals to move through and utilize forested areas which have been modified through timber harvest as they seek out resources for the breeding and postfledging phases. As well I am working in collaboration with Parks Canada scientists to examine in the influence of high density moose populations on forest bird communities in Gros Morne National Park. Many of my projects are conducted in collaboration or consultation with representatives of industry and government agencies, seeking to improve the management and sustainability of natural resource extraction.