Last Updated on December, 2023
More than 80% of migratory birds, especially owls, are known to fly at night, using the stars and other landmarks for guidance as they make their way through dangerous terrain. However, a new danger has emerged, and many of us are unknowingly helping in its growth.
A sudden burst of light is more threatening to an owl than continuous light.
Owls and humans have similar responses to intense light, with a resulting impairment of vision.
Owls can be scared away by predators, anti-bird spikes, strong odors, and drones.
Table of Contents
- Will a Flashlight Scare an Owl?
- Why Does Flashlight’s Light Scare an Owl?
- Other Factors That Scare an Owl
- How to Observe an Owl? (Without Scaring Them)
- Final Words
Will a Flashlight Scare an Owl?
A sudden burst of lightning is much more threatening to an owl than continuous lightning. There is a higher chance of owl roadkills or collisions with large windows at night due to the glare of light from headlights of moving vehicles and from and around buildings too.
Related article: How to Identify Animal Eyes At Night with a Flashlight?
Why Does Flashlight’s Light Scare an Owl?
We don’t know much about bird vision, although some study is available on the topic. According to Ellis Loew, a professor of physiology at Cornell University’s Department of Veterinary Medicine, owls and human eyes have similar responses to light.
The photoreceptors in the eyes can become overloaded when subjected to intense light, such as a flashlight going off in the dark.
A glowing afterimage results from this, impairing one’s ability to see and recognize objects briefly. Regaining normal vision can take anywhere from five seconds to thirty seconds.
Softer artificial light seems to have more effect on owl vision and behavior than harsher night light (such as light glare and light clustering). The photoreceptors in an owl’s eye can be irreversibly damaged by exposure to bright light over extended periods.
Other Factors That Scare an Owl
Because owls naturally fear being hurt, this technique is likely the most effective at scaring them away. Fake replicas of predators and other giant predators being visible to them are also some causes.
Bird spikes can be on several surfaces, like roofs, ledges, and guttering. The metal spikes point upward, making it a terrible place to land. Owls are not harmed because they avoid landing on them. Bird spikes are common on urban sites, both public and private.
Also, spikes can be an extremely efficient deterrent. However, they may not be as successful as discouraging owls.
Distinct or Strong Odors
For a short while at least, strong odors like pepper or essential oils scare an owl away. This is because they think that there might be a predator around. This is also a pest-controlling method.
It would take the regular application of the odors to all the owls’ resting and hatching areas for them to be eliminated. Owls don’t like strong smells, but this probably won’t work in the long run.
How to Observe an Owl? (Without Scaring Them)
When Night Falls, Turn Off All Artificial Lights
Studies have found that owls released after being banded at night and kept in the dark for five minutes are more likely to fly away quickly and without incident than those released after being exposed to lights. This suggests that owls’ night vision is temporarily affected by artificial lighting.
Leave Your Dog at Home
Owls are naturally afraid of dogs. Expect the vast majority of owls to be stressed by the presence of a dog, even owls who are adapted to human activities in cities. See how owls react to dogs if you’re first studying owls that have become used to humans.
Take it Easy, And Don’t Raise Your Voice
Stressful for owls are sudden movements and loud noises. Avoid startling the owls by moving slowly and keeping quiet if you want to observe or photograph them.
When it’s Safe, You Can Use Your Car as a Blind
In general, owls are more tolerant of humans while they are inside a car. Turn down your engine and park on the RIGHT side of the road if you don’t want to annoy other drivers (take pictures or watch from the passenger seat).
Don’t Bring Your Drone With You
The presence of a drone in the area around a nest can make owls and other raptors feel threatened. This can cause owls a great deal of stress, and certain species, like the Barred Owls, may react by attacking the drone.
Some drones have sharp blades that can hurt owls and other raptors if they attack (and the owls may also damage the drone).
Scientists are unsure that an owl would suffer actual harm from single or multiple flashes. What if, however, multiple photographers were to take pictures simultaneously? Perhaps a group of bird watchers that visit the same spot repeatedly over several weeks or months?
They warn that continuous exposure to flashlights could have adverse health effects. However, the intensity of such efforts would depend on the number, frequency, and intensity of flashes.
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