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Heart-Shaped Hearing

Doug Swinson, Wikimedia Commons (public domain)

Barn Owls

on February 24, 2020

The valentine face of a barn owl is not just for decoration. It actually helps him find dinner. The two sides of this distinctive facial disk serve as sound collectors, which direct sound toward the barn owl’s two ears, located behind each eye. The stiff, dense facial feathers help focus the sounds even better toward each ear. This system works so well that barn owls can pick out the sound of a timid mouse rustling 75 feet away.

Having an ear on each side of the face helps the owl locate sounds precisely, the same way your ears do, by comparing the sounds that reach each ear. But there’s more to this exquisite audio design. The left ear points slightly downward and sits a little higher than the right ear, which points upward. This arrangement helps the barn owl locate the height of sounds with precision. In fact, the barn owl’s hearing is so precise it can hunt in complete darkness.

Even in a fallen world where predators are prominent, our Creator demonstrates His care by providing for all of His creatures, from sparrows to people. He shows His love for the barn owl in the shape of a heart.

This article was taken from Answers magazine, January–March, 2015, 28–29.