4 3 11 feathered hunters of the night (science)

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Feathered Hunters of the Night by Carol A Greenhalgh H O UG H T O N MIF F L IN Feathered Hunters of the Night by Carol A Greenhalgh ILLUSTRATION CREDIT: Articulate Graphics, Susan Carlson PHOTOGRAPHY CREDITS: Cover © Russell Burden/Index Stock; Cover, 3–14 (border) © Leonard Zorn/Animals Animals – Earth Scenes - All rights reserved.; © Joe McDonald/Corbis; © Andy Rouse/Getty Images; © Eric and David Hosking/Corbis; © Sea World of California/Corbis; © W Perry Conway/Corbis; 10 © Russell Burden/Index Stock; 13 © Leonard Zorn/Animals Animals – Earth Scenes - All rights reserved.; 14 © Joe McDonald/Corbis Copyright © by Houghton Mifflin Company All rights reserved No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying or recording, or by any information storage or retrieval system without the prior written permission of the copyright owner unless such copying is expressly permitted by federal copyright law With the exception of nonprofit transcription into Braille, Houghton Mifflin is not authorized to grant permission for further uses of this work Permission must be obtained from the individual copyright owner as identified herein Address requests for permission to make copies of Houghton Mifflin material to School Permissions, Houghton Mifflin Company, 222 Berkeley Street, Boston, MA 02116 Printed in China ISBN-13: 978-0-547-02328-1 ISBN-10: 0-547-02328-6 RRD 15 14 13 12 11 10 09 08 Table of Contents The Raptor Family Owls Are Amazing Owl Features Great Horned Owl Barn Owl 10 Screech Owl 11 More About Screech Owls 12 Owls are silent hunters Only a small sliver of moonlight casts a glow over the dark hilltop An owl is perched high in a tree, patiently waiting for its next meal It doesn’t move a muscle, and it doesn’t utter a sound Suddenly, the owl swoops down and snatches its prey from the tall grass What makes it so easy for an owl to hunt in the dead of night? The Raptor Family Owls are birds of prey, also called raptors Raptors are different from other birds because they hunt for food using their feet They have excellent vision and sharp, hooked beaks Some raptors, such as eagles, falcons, hawks, and condors, hunt during the day Owls, on the other hand, are nocturnal raptors, which means they usually hunt at night An owl is a nocturnal raptor It hunts at night Like other raptors, an owl’s claws are very sharp and powerful All raptors have strong feet with sharp, curved claws, called talons These are used to grab the prey and carry it away Then they use their sharp, hooked beaks, or bills, for cutting and tearing apart their food Toes on either end of each foot can turn forward or backward, allowing the bird to grab tightly onto its prey Owls Are Amazing Owls come in many sizes, from the fiveinch-tall elf owl that has endeared itself to people for ages, to the two-foot-tall snowy owl Their faces can be round or heart-shaped, and their voices vary from a gentle hoo-hoo to a surprisingly loud screech Owls’ short, broad wings allow them to dart quickly through trees as they chase their prey The feathers on the Interesting Owl Facts edge of their wings • An owl’s eyes don’t are soft, so they fly move To look around, it must turn its head without making • Its head can turn a sound three-quarters of the way around That’s pretty far! • Owls can see about 100 times better than a human can at night The facial disc on this owl is easy to see Owls can hear very well because most kinds have a feature called a facial disc The round and flat arrangement of the feathers on their face allows them to collect and filter sound, just like a satellite dish is used to collect television signals The disc sends the sound to the owl’s ears, located on the sides of the head An owl is also able to change the shape of its facial disc so it can locate certain sounds more easily Owl Features Owls have many biological features that many other birds not These include the following: Tufts of feathers that look like ears (but are not) Facial disc Large eyes Head can turn almost all the way around Curved beak Powerful wings Toes that can move forward or backward Most people know an owl when they spot one, but many can’t tell one owl from another Let’s look at several owls to see some of their features that can be used as clues Great Horned Owl The great horned owl lives in the United States, Canada, and Mexico It gets its name from the large tufts of feathers that look like horns on its head called ear tufts The great horned owl can carry prey three times heavier than itself and sometimes hunts by walking on the ground Many have even hastened into a chicken coop when a farmer wasn’t looking Barn Owl The barn owl is quite common and can be found throughout the world, including almost all of the United States, Mexico, and South America Barn owls are 14 or 15 inches tall with feet that are yellowish-white to brown Some say that its tan beak looks like a long nose The best way to identify a barn owl is by its heartshaped facial disc The heart-shaped facial disc is very easy to identify on this barn owl 10 Screech Owl The most noticeable feature of the small screech owl is its ear tufts They make it look like a baby great horned owl Screech owls live in old woodpecker nests and other holes in trees They often return to the same nest year every year Ways to Identify Some Types of Owls Type of Owl Size in Inches Shape of Facial Disc Ear Tufts Barn Owl 14–16 Heart-shaped Great Horned Owl 18–25 Heart-shaped, Yes but hard to see Eastern Screech Owl 7–9 Round Yes Western Screech Owl 8–9 Round Yes No 11 More About Screech Owls Screech owls love to snack on tiny insects However, they are more tempted to eat mice, snakes, and lizards Smaller prey is eaten shortly after it is pounced upon and often swallowed whole Larger prey is carried back to the perch In the presence of danger, the screech owl will try to blend in to the area and freeze Eastern Territory Western Territory The two types of screech owls—eastern screech owls and western screech owls—live in different parts of the United States 12 A mother owl is very protective of her owlets Usually, screech owls lay three to five eggs at one time The male owl hunts and brings food to the mother, who often refuses to leave the nest even if she is threatened with danger The screech owl can get angry if it feels its nest is in danger and has even been known to attack humans An incident like this usually leaves people in disbelief because no one thinks a tiny little owl would attack a big person 13 Screech owls, like other owls, are incredible hunters even in the darkest night All owls are excellent hunters With their excellent night vision, sharp hearing, and soft wing feathers that allow them to fly silently, owls are able to spot the smallest of prey and then swoop down on it with no warning So, the next time you are lucky enough to see an owl, remember all the interesting features that truly make it one of the great hunters of the night 14 Responding Word Builder Many words have word parts, called prefixes, added to the beginning of them In the word disbelief, dis- is added to the beginning of belief Think of some other words that have prefixes added Copy and complete the chart below TARGET VOCABULARY dis- un- disbelief unhappy ? ? ? ? Write About It Text to World Some owls, such as the spotted owl and the barn owl, are disappearing Do you believe these owls should be protected so they can survive? Write a short paragraph explaining your opinion Use one word from the Word Builder in your writing 15 TARGET VOCABULARY arrangement biological disbelief endeared hastened incident pounced presence tempted utter Infer/Predict Use text clues to figure out what isn’t directly stated by the author TARGET STRATEGY Which vocabulary word sounds similar to something that people usually receive on their birthday? 16 Level: Q DRA: 40 Science Strategy: Infer/Predict Word Count: 959 4.3.11 Build Vocabulary HOUGHTON MIFFLIN Online Leveled Books ISBN-13: 978-0-547-02328-1 ISBN-10: 0-547-02328-6 1032213 ... owls, like other owls, are incredible hunters even in the darkest night All owls are excellent hunters With their excellent night vision, sharp hearing, and soft wing feathers that allow them to... great hunters of the night 14 Responding Word Builder Many words have word parts, called prefixes, added to the beginning of them In the word disbelief, dis- is added to the beginning of belief... parts of the United States 12 A mother owl is very protective of her owlets Usually, screech owls lay three to five eggs at one time The male owl hunts and brings food to the mother, who often
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