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In an Exorcist-style display of flexibility, owls can rotate their necks a maximum of 270 degrees without breaking blood vessels or tearing tendons. Whereas people and other animals can simply move their eyes to follow an object or use peripheral vision to scan a room, owls must turn their heads for the same effect.
Owls are more flexible than humans because a bird’s head is only connected by one socket pivot. For the new research, the Johns Hopkins team obtained 12 dead birds from educational centers and created 3-D images of the animals’ blood vessels and bones. The team discovered owls have backup arteries, which offer a fresh supply of nutrients when blood vessels get closed off by rapid turning.
Owls might not be distinctive within the animal kingdom, but they do have the corner on Hollywood horror flicks. The head-turning study won first place in the Posters category of the 2012 International Science & Engineering Visualization Challenge.
How does this relate to the Indians belief in Owls accompanying spirits into the after life?
If Owls cannot move their eyes, then it makes sense that they can rotate their neck 270 degrees.
Our mission is to build a global community around the freedom and beauty of birds in the wild. We’ll unlock the secrets of the world of birds, sharing their beauty and wonder through the eyes of ornithologists, bird photographers, researchers, conservationists, nature enthusiasts, experts, and birders.
The protected area is home to great hammerhead sharks, manta rays, whale sharks, and tiger sharks. Problems in the tundra seem distant from most people's lives, but climate-driven changes in these harsh lands at the ends of the Earth could have big impacts on everyone. The National Geographic Society aims to be an international leader for global conservation and environmental sustainability.
In an artist’s impression, this red giant star as viewed from a nearby scorched planet is similar to the bright evening star Arcturus, now visible in the spring skies.
As springtime winds begin to blow, a giant celestial kite sets sail, riding high in the night sky. A good stargazing trick that will aid observers in finding this bright constellation is to start off at the Big Dipper, now high in the northeastern sky in the late evenings. While the remaining five stars that make up the kite shape are quite faint to the naked eye, Arcturus will knock your eyes out.
This sky chart shows the early evening sky looking toward the northeast, where the Big Dipper handle points directly toward Arcturus, the lead star in the constellation Bootes. Nearly straight above the moon is the jewel-like star cluster known as the Pleiades or Seven Sisters. Meanwhile, to the upper left of the moon will be the orange-hued, dying stellar giant Aldebaran, and the distinctively V-shaped Hyades star cluster.
Moon and Jupiter. For those who love planet-watching, Jupiter is easy to find on Saturday, April 6, thanks to the silvery moon pointing the way in the southwestern evening sky. This sky chart shows Jupiter and the moon together in the constellation Gemini on the evening of April 6.


A near quarter-moon pays a visit to Jupiter, passing only 5 degrees south of the king of planets. We’re Moving!As of October 23, 2014, StarStruck will be hosted on National Geographic's main news site.
These birds have fixed eye sockets, which means their eyeballs can’t rotate, forcing them to stretch their necks—a seemingly supernatural feat. The scientists also injected the carcasses with dye and liquified red plastic to preserve their arteries before dissection, according to a summary of their research on the U.S. With their bulbous eyes and haunting calls, these birds can swivel their way from one thriller to the next. Therefore the rotated head must end up in a position which gives room for the back-up arteries to open up and vice verse. They are the music, movement, decoration, and character of every terrestrial habitat on the planet, and have been around since the dinosaurs. We'll also share National Geographic articles, videos, and behind-the-scenes features and keep you up to date on important bird research and conservation efforts around the world.
Tundra ecosystems are treeless regions found in the Arctic and on the tops of mountains, where the climate is cold and windy and rainfall is scant. Glaciers are retreating, ice shelves are fracturing, sea level is rising, permafrost is melting.
When individuals pledge to use less water in their own lives, our partners carry out restoration work in the Colorado River Basin. For sky-watchers, another delightful week is ahead for observing the heavens, with the moon waxing after an early absence and taking a starring role in the celestial encounters ahead. With the moon missing for most of the night on Monday, March 31, sky-watchers can track down the distinctive constellation Bootes, the Herdsman, and its red giant star.
Appearing to hang upside down, the handle of the Big Dipper offers up three stars that point in an imaginary line down toward the horizon. It is also considered the fourth brightest star in the entire night sky, and is a real giant at some 20 million miles (32,186,880 kilometers) wide—25 times wider than our sun. After nightfall on Wednesday, April 2, look for the thin crescent moon hanging below the gems of the constellation Taurus, the Bull, low in the western sky. To the naked eye, the 400 light-year-distant, deep-sky treasure trove resembles a fuzzy group of stars.
By the next evening, Thursday, April 3, the waxing crescent moon will slide in front of the Hyades cluster. The pair together will make for a spectacular sky sight, even with unaided eyes from brightly lit urban locations.
Don’t forget to point your binoculars at Jupiter and watch its four largest moons beside it. Unfortunately every-time something REALLY interesting is going on in the cosmos it is cloudy in my neighborhood.
We'll continue to be your source for all things in the cosmos and what's coming up in your night sky.
Owls also have multiple vertebrae, the small bones that make up the neck and spine, helping them achieve a wide range of motion.


Wild birds are the witnesses and ambassadors of the awesome power of nature, surviving global cataclysms and drifting with the continents across the ages. Birds unite us “global citizens” by migrating across national boundaries and showing us that we are all connected in one world. Tundra lands are snow-covered for much of the year, until summer brings a burst of wildflowers.Mountain goats, sheep, marmots, and birds live in mountain, or alpine, tundra and feed on the low-lying plants and insects.
If our puny sun were replaced by this behemoth, the outer edge of the star would reach as far as the orbit of Mars, and Earth would be swallowed up by its atmosphere. The moon will appear to sit just to the lower right of 65 light-year-distant Aldebaran, which marks the left top of the V-shaped Hyades. Even the smallest of telescopes will reveal dark cloud belts and the Great Red Spot, a Jovian hurricane three times the size of Earth. Hardy flora like cushion plants survive on these mountain plains by growing in rock depressions where it is warmer and they are sheltered from the wind.The Arctic tundra, where the average temperature is 10 to 20 degrees Fahrenheit (-12 to -6 degrees Celsius), supports a variety of animal species, including Arctic foxes, polar bears, gray wolves, caribou, snow geese and musk-oxen. Aldebaran may look like part of the cluster, but in reality it is about half as far away as the cluster members are.
We need to do everything we can to guarantee that all +9,000 bird species are protected for future generations.
The summer growing season is just 50 to 60 days, when the sun shines 24 hours a day.The few plants and animals that live in the harsh conditions of the tundra are essentially clinging to life. On Monday, lucky sky-watchers in much of North America will glimpse (through their backyard telescopes) up to three of the Hyades’ fainter members as they are eclipsed, or occulted, by the moon when its unlit portion passes in front of them. They are highly vulnerable to environmental stresses like reduced snow cover and warmer temperatures brought on by global warming.The Arctic tundra is changing dramatically due to global warming. Hit by cars, poisoned by farmers, caught by traders, or shot by hunters, they are slowly vanishing from the world. The red fox is now competing with the Arctic fox for food and territory, and the long-term impact on the sensitive Arctic fox is unknown.It is the Arctic's permafrost that is the foundation for much of the region's unique ecosystem, and it is the permafrost that is deteriorating with the warmer global climate.
Permafrost is a layer of frozen soil and dead plants that extends some 1,476 feet (450 meters) under the surface. In the southern regions of the Arctic, the surface layer above the permafrost melts during the summer and this forms bogs and shallow lakes that invite an explosion of animal life. Insects swarm around the bogs, and millions of migrating birds come to feed on them.With global warming, the fall freeze comes later and more of the permafrost is melting in the southern Arctic. Shrubs and spruce that previously couldn't take root on the permafrost now dot the landscape, potentially altering the habitat of the native animals.Another major concern is that the melting of the permafrost is contributing to global warming. Estimates suggest that about 14 percent of the Earth’s carbon is tied up in the permafrost. Until recently, the tundra acted as a carbon sink and captured huge amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere as part of photosynthesis. This process helped keep the amount of this greenhouse gas from accumulating in the atmosphere.Today, however, as the permafrost melts and dead plant material decomposes and releases CO2, the tundra has flipped from a carbon sink to a carbon contributor.



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