Though I definitely considered an Octopus, I was taken with the eyes of this baby owl so we ended up here instead. I learned that the eyes of an owl are not true “eyeballs.” Their tube-shaped eyes are completely immobile, providing binocular vision which boosts their depth perception and allows them to fully focus on prey. This also gives them a perpetual stare that’s rather creepy and unnerving at times.
The popular name for a group of owls is called a parliament which dates back to the 1950’s when C. S. Lewis used the term to describe a meeting of owls in The Chronicles of Narnia. I guess this was because owls are often associated with wisdom, and perhaps there was a time when human politics were also associated with the same. Another tidbit I found interesting is that Boreal owls are usually monogamous, but when mice are plentiful and childcare becomes easier, they become promiscuous, with males mating with up to three females. Not to worry as fair is fair. Females usually have at least one guy on the side as well during this time.
As if the immovable eyes weren’t strange enough, owls can also rotate their heads 270 degrees. What’s super weird is that in order to pull off this feat they have a special blood-pooling system. This allows them to conserve enough blood to power their brains and eyes while their neck movement totally cuts off their circulation. A small inconvenience, I guess, when this feature makes you an insanely great hunter. Next up is “P” in this alphabet adventure, so if you have a suggestion, let me know in the comments!
About the Doodlewash
M. Graham watercolors: Quinacridone Gold, Azo Orange, Burnt Sienna, Ultramarine Blue, and Titanium White Gouache. Lamy Safari Al Star pen with Platinum Carbon black ink and second Lamy Safari Al Star pen with Platinum Carbon sepia ink in a 5″ x 8″ 140 lb. (300 gsm) Pentalic Aqua Journal
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Creator of Doodlewash®, founder of World Watercolor Month (July), World Watercolor Group™, and host of the Sketching Stuff Podcast. Sharing daily watercolor illustrations and stories while proudly featuring talented artists from all over the world! If you’d like to be a guest artist on Doodlewash.com, contact me!