Not only can owls see in the dark, but they also have the best night vision of any animal, according to the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine. Most owls' eyes have adapted in a variety of ways to allow them to see in the dark and twilight, and they have developed other features to improve their vision. In bright light, owl pupils adjust to let in less light, unlike other nocturnal animals that can only see in the dark. Because the iris fits, the owl's eyes can see even during the day (unlike other nocturnal animals that can only see well at night), but their vision is a bit blurry and they can't see colors well.
Owls cannot see in absolute darkness, but with the help of binocular vision, they can focus and aim at prey. An owl has about 30 times more rods than cones, which means that although they are not very good at seeing colors, they have excellent night vision. The face allows them to have a much wider range of binocular vision than animals with eyes located on the sides of their heads. Binocular vision means that an owl can see an object with both eyes simultaneously in 3 dimensions: height, width and enhanced depth perception.
The forward-facing side of the eyes, which gives the owl its "wise" appearance, also gives it a wide range of "binocular" vision (seeing an object with both eyes at the same time). An owl's eyes have four special characteristics that allow it to see better at night. The eye of an owl is actually a tubular tube that provides better binocular vision, making it easier to capture prey. The eyes of an owl are adapted so that it can see better in the dark.
Owl's Eye Pupil The owl's eye itself has a variety of adaptations that make night vision better than humans. The more eyes, the more light it catches, and the better the owl's ability to hunt in the dark. Owls can sometimes hunt for potential prey during the day because it's sharp during the day, and night vision can do that. An ornithologist reports that owls have even sharper vision at night than during the day.
During the day, most owls may squint their eyes to avoid too much light, while at night they keep their eyes wide open to get as much light as possible to help them hunt. Thanks to a combination of large eyes and excellent hearing, owls have made their nights their own and few other aerial predators can match them. While owls' eyes, large eyes, cannot move or rotate like human eyes, owls can move their heads almost completely, giving them a 270-degree field of view without moving their bodies. The disadvantage of such large eyes is that owls are very farsighted and cannot focus on nearby objects.
Compared to the eyes of daytime hunters such as eagles and hawks, the larger lens of an owl's eye allows more light to reach the retina. Owls are also tubular and their large eye lenses are close to the retina, allowing a lot of light to hit the retina. To allow as much light as possible to enter the pupil, even in low light conditions, an owl's eyes are huge with corneas and enlarged lenses, and can account for up to 5% of its body weight.
The large facial rings around the eyes, characteristic of owls, also reflect light back into the eyes. Reflection gives most owls a second chance to collect available light and send it to their photoreceptors, which helps them see better in the dark.
First, the owl's pupil itself can expand more than a human's, emitting 2.7 times more light. First, the eyes of an owl are dominated by densely packed retinal rods. All animal eyes have rod and cone shaped photoreceptors.
The cells that respond to color are called "cone cells" (cone-shaped), and there are few of them in the owl's eye, so most owls see in limited color or in black and white. According to one source, great horned owls only see in black and white because their retinas are richly supplied with rod receptor cells and have very few of the less efficient cones needed for color vision. In species of owls, including the great horned owl and barn owl, rods outnumber cones by a ratio of 30 to 1, allowing owl species to see better than humans in the darkness of the night.
Nocturnal owls are thought to have achromatic vision, which means the bird can only see black, grey and white. Because most of their prey, such as mice, voles, and other rodents, are also active at night, most owls need to see in the dark so they can hunt like mice. Orange eyes suggest that the owl hunts at dawn and dusk, while completely black eyes mean it may only hunt at night.
Owls see so well in the dark that they can smell mice anywhere on a football field by the light of a single candle. The third eyelid helps protect and moisturise the eye, but since it is translucent, the owl can still be seen when closed. Therefore, the eye sockets are fixed and the owl must use its neck to look in other directions.
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