Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Facial Disc

The facial disc of the Barn Owl plays a vital role in its ability to hear. As a nocturnal hunter the owl depends upon its hearing more than any other sense to be able to locate its prey.
The disc acts like a reflector, amplifying sound and directing it to its ears which sit below the disc feathers. This disc serves as an amplifier which collects and then focuses sound from a large area. One ear is set slightly higher than the other which means that sound will be noticed slightly earlier in one ear than the other and this time lag, although very tiny, is sufficient to enable the bird to know the direction from which the sound has travelled. It can then locate its prey with unerring accuracy.