Hunting at night is something that owls do better than any other bird. When hawks and eagles sleep, owls take over. They hunt the same areas and many of the same kinds of prey. Because of the darkness, owls must use different hunting skills than the daytime hunters. When they hunt, owls do not soar like eagles. They do not use long-range vision like hawks. Instead, they fly close to the ground, listening and watching for their prey in the dark.

Have you ever wondered exactly how an owl hunts so well in the dark? Lucky for you, Zoobooks Owls explains it! To hunt, an owl perches silently on a branch. Then it watches and listens for movements below. When it sees or hears an animal, the owl swoops down and flies close to the ground. As it gets closer and closer, it stops beating its wings and glides in for the attack.

After capturing its prey, the owl flies back to its perch. Unless it has something big, like a rabbit, it carries the prey in its bill. Owls usually swallow their prey whole—even teeth, bones, and fur. If the prey is too large, the owl breaks it into pieces. But it still swallows bones and tail. The owl cannot digest everything that it swallows. Some things, like teeth, bones, and hair, are packed into pellets and spit out. If you find owl pellets and gently take them apart, you can see what an owl has eaten—it’s pretty cool!

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