Questions About Owls

Can owls fly upside down?

What is the maximum payload a full-grown barn owl can carry for a reasonable distance?

Does an owl’s hoot echo?

How smart are owls compared to other birds of prey? Compared to small predatory mammals (cats)?

Can owls look up when they’re perched on their feet?

This oughta be a hoot

Im not sure any bird can fly upside down.

African or European owl?

A hoot, as anything comprised of sound waves will echo.

Pretty danged smart; wise old owl much?

As opposed to being perched on their head?

A couple weeks ago, I lost my burrow owl. Where can I look for it?

I’m still trying to find out the airspeed velocity of a laden swallow.

Please guys? This is important.

Jumpin Jesus on a pogo stick. Everyone knows that a burrow owl lives in a hole in the ground! Why the hell do you think they call it a burrow owl, anyway?

Common sense would tell me no. Could an owl turn upside down while flying? Sure. Could it maintain altitude while upside down? I would strongly wager no.

These, I haven’t much of an idea. Other than yes, the hoot echos. Why would a guy want to know such things?

Owl looking up: (You can’t see his feet, but, well, extrapolate, okay?)

Warning: Freaky looking cricket-thing on this page.

All info that I could find suggests the largest prey that barn owls take is rabbits, but none of the articles say how big.

The one by our house is fond of pigeons, but I suppose they don’t weigh much.

Since owls can, I assume, look forward whilst flying, it only makes sense that they can look up when perched.

I’ve heard from a couple of falconers that owls aren’t the brightest sticks in the drawer.

And if you can’t trust a software engineer to know about owls, well … who can you trust?

Come on, people. Inigo Montoya obviously has a big Owl test coming up, and all we seem to be getting are sarcastic remarks. Sheesh.

FWIW, Owls aren’t really that smart. It’s a misnomer. I mean, all they do is ask “who” all the time. If they were really smart, they’d already know the answer.

No, he’s just been testy since someone killed his father.

I’ve seen bird-of-prey shows at zoos and museums, and I’ve never seen any demonstrations done by owls, only hawks, falcons, or eagles. Owls were only sitting there. I can’t say for certain it’s due to intelligence. One time someone tried to demonstrate how quite an owl was but it didn’t cooperate.
Since owls can look forward while flying, as Bobotheoptimist notes, I’d agree that they’d be able to look up, but since their prey isn’t usually above them, they wouldn’t need to.
I would be willing to bet that an owl can not fly upside down in any kind of sustainable manner.

All I can tell you is they’re not as they seem.

Hummingbirds can fly upside down for short periods of time.

I am NOT using the Dope to help me with my homework!
Can owls fly upside down?
Seems to be “No, not really” which makes sense sine most of their act consists of sitting, swooping and flopping back up the tree.

**What is the maximum payload a full-grown barn owl can carry for a reasonable distance?**Ok, about 1 rabbit. Good enough.

**Does an owl’s hoot echo?**Had to ask

**How smart are owls compared to other birds of prey? Compared to small predatory mammals (cats)?**So…pretty dumb then?

**Can owls look up when they’re perched on their feet?**So…maybe?

Yeah, but was the demonstration during the day time? That’s a pretty big disadvantage for the owl to operate under.

I’ve had the impression that owls appear to have limited mental capacity largely because so much of their brain is devoted to sensory processing for those huge eyes and their keen hearing. They’re superb night predators, but at an evolutionary cost in terms of being less generalized.


Oh dear. Inigo, you do realize the OWLs have nothing to do with the bird, right?

Indeed. To quote Warner Shedd from his book Owls Aren’t Wise & Bats aren’t Blind: A Naturalist Debunks Our Favorite Fallacies About Wildlife:

Not really. Owls see just as well during the day as they do at night. They are primarily nocturnal largely because their prey are nocturnal. That, and they don’t have to compete with other birds of prey for those tasty mouse morsals then.