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FEATURE ARTICLE

How the Owl Tracks Its Prey

Experiments with trained barn owls reveal how their acute sense of hearing enables them to catch prey in the dark

Masakazu Konishi

The structure of owls' ears enable them to rapidly spatially locate the origin of sounds that are literally as quiet as a mouse.  Author Masakazu Konishi describes clever and elegant experimentation to discover owls' binaural hearing, while including beautiful infrared photography of owl flight.  This Classic article was first published in the July–August 1973 issue, and is reprinted as part of American Scientist’s centennial year celebration. The author is widely recognized for his neuroethological research on prey capture auditory systems in owls and singing in songbirds.


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