Owls are a group of birds that belong to the order Strigiformes, constituting 200 extant bird of prey species. Most are solitary and nocturnal, with some exceptions (e.g. the Northern Hawk Owl). Owls hunt mostly small mammals, insects, and other birds, although a few species specialize in hunting fish. They are found in all regions of the Earth except Antarctica, most of Greenland and some remote islands. Though owls are typically solitary, the literary collective noun for a group of owls is aparliament. Owls are characterized by their small beaks and wide faces, and are divided into two families: the typical owls, Strigidae; and the barn-owls, Tytonidae.
Owls have large forward-facing eyes and ear-holes; a hawk-like beak; a flat face; and usually a conspicuous circle of feathers, a facial disc, around each eye. The feathers making up this disc can be adjusted in order to sharply focus sounds that come from varying distances onto the owls' asymmetrically placed ear cavities. Most birds of prey sport eyes on the sides of their heads, but the stereoscopic nature of the owl's forward-facing eyes permits the greater sense of depth perception necessary for low-light hunting. Although owls have binocular vision, their large eyes are fixed in their sockets — as are those of other birds - so they must turn their entire head to change views. Owls can rotate their heads and necks as much as 270 degrees in either direction. As owls are farsighted, they are unable to see clearly anything within a few centimeters of their eyes. Caught prey can be felt by owls with the use of filoplumes — like feathers on the beak and feet that act as "feelers". Their far vision, particularly in low light, is exceptionally good.
Most owls are nocturnal, actively hunting their prey only in water and darkness. Several types of owl, however, are crepuscular — active during the twilight hours of dawn and dusk; one example is the Pygmy owl (Glaucidium). A few owls are active during the day also; examples are the Burrowing Owl (Speotyto cunicularia) and the Short-eared Owl (Asio flammeus).
The serrations on the leading edge of an owl's flight feathers reduce noise.
Much of the owls' hunting strategy depends on stealth and surprise. Owls have at least two adaptations that aid them in achieving stealth. First, the dull coloration of their' feathers can render them almost invisible under certain conditions. Secondly, serrated edges on the leading edge of owls' remiges muffle an owl's wing beats, allowing an owl's flight to be practically silent. Some fish-eating owls, for which silence has no evolutionary advantage, lack this adaptation.An owl's sharp beak and powerful talons allow it to kill its prey before swallowing it whole (if it is not too big). Scientists studying the diets of owls are helped by their habit of regurgitating the indigestible parts of their prey (such as bones, scales and fur) in the form of pellets. These "owl pellets" are plentiful and easy to interpret, and are often sold by companies to schools for dissection by students as a lesson in biology and ecology. All owls are carnivorous birds of prey and live mainly on a diet of insects and small rodents such as mice, rats and hares. Some owls are also specifically adapted to hunt fish. They are very adept in hunting in their respective environments. Since owls can be found in nearly all parts of the world and across a multitude of ecosystems, their hunting skills and characteristics vary slightly from species to species, though most characteristics are shared among all species.
Most owls share an innate ability to fly almost silently and also more slowly in comparison to other birds of prey. Most owls live a mainly nocturnal lifestyle and being able to fly without making any noise gives them a strong advantage over their prey that are listening for any sign of noise in the dark night. A silent, slow flight is not as necessary for diurnal and crepuscular owls given that prey can usually see an owl approaching. - Wikipedia
Snowy Owl, Burrowing Owl, Short-eared Owl, Eastern-screech Owl, Great Horned Owl, owlets
Shorebirds include the: avocets, oystercatchers, phalaropes, plovers, sandpipers, stilts, snipes, and turnstones. In general, they have long and thin legs with little to no webbing on their feet. They are usually small bodied with long thin bills. The differences in their bill lengths and shape allow the different shorebird species to forage for food within their habitat either on dry soil, mud, or in shallow water. They can be found in inter-tidal mudflats, estuaries, or salt marshes. Shorebird migration spans a great distance. The migratory paths are influenced by geography, wind, and weather patterns. During the spring, summer and fall migration, shorebirds rest and feed at stopover locations. Shorebirds eat a variety of invertebrate prey such as worms, insect larva, amphipods, copepods, crustaceans, and mollusks. - U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
A falcon is any species of raptor in the genus Falco. The genus contains 37 species, widely distributed throughout Europe, Asia, Africa, Australasia and North America. Adult falcons have thin tapered wings, which enable them to fly at high speed and to change direction rapidly. Fledgling falcons, in their first year of flying, have longer flight feathers, which makes their configuration more like that of a general-purpose bird such as a broadwing. This makes it easier to fly while learning the exceptional skills required to be effective hunters as adults.Peregrine Falcons have been recorded diving at speeds of 200 miles per hour (320 km/h), making them the fastest-moving creatures on Earth.
Other falcons include the Gyrfalcon, Lanner Falcon, and the Merlin. Some small falcons with long narrow wings are called hobbies, and some which hover while hunting are called kestrels. The falcons are part of the family Falconidae, which also includes the caracaras, Laughing Falcon, forest falcons, and falconets.
The traditional term for a male falcon is tercel (British spelling) or tiercel (American spelling), from Latin tertius = third because of the belief that only one in three eggs hatched a male bird. Some sources give the etymology as deriving from the fact that a male falcon is approximately one third smaller than the female (Old French tiercelet). A falcon chick, especially one reared for falconry, that is still in its downy stage is known as an eyas (sometimes spelt eyass). The word arose by mistaken division of Old French un niais, from Latin presumed nidiscus ("nestling", from nidus = nest). The technique of hunting with trained captive birds of prey is known as falconry.As is the case with many birds of prey, falcons have exceptional powers of vision; the visual acuity of one species has been measured at 2.6 times that of a normal human. source: Wikipedia