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Owl Food Chain

Owl Food Chain
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  • 0:00 What Is a Food Chain?
  • 0:59 Types of Owls
  • 1:54 Barn Owl Food Chain
  • 2:32 Great Horned Owl Food Chain
  • 3:14 Importance
  • 3:52 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Amanda Robb
This lesson is on the owl food chain. In this lesson, we'll go over what a food chain is and different types of owls. We'll also dig into specific food chains for a few different species of owls.

What Is a Food Chain?

A food chain is the linear transfer of energy from one organism to the next. Energy transfers between the organisms as food. A food chain basically shows what eats what in a particular ecosystem. A food web is similar, but it is a collage of many food chains put together and is more complicated. Both food chains and food webs have different layers called trophic layers. The bottom trophic layer is the producers. Producers make their own food and provide energy for the rest of the food chain. Primary consumers eat the producers. Primary consumers are herbivores, eating only plants. Secondary consumers are carnivores that only eat the meat of the primary consumers. Tertiary consumers are the ultimate top predators of a food chain. They eat the primary and secondary consumers and keep the ecosystem in balance. In most cases, owls are the top predator in their ecosystem.

Types of Owls

Over 200 species of owls thrive around the globe! Owls are carnivorous birds that are adapted to live in many environments. They survive on all continents except Antarctica. All owls fly, but not all live in trees. The burrowing owl actually burrows in the ground, using its long legs to run after small prey like rodents. The burrowing owl lives in the Mid-Western United States to the Pacific Coast and north into Canada.

Other owls can grow to extremely large sizes, such as the Blakiston's fish owl, which has a wingspan of six feet and can weigh up to ten pounds! This large bird is extremely rare and only lives in Russia and Northern Japan.

Today we will look at the food chain of two common owls, the barn owl and the great horned owl. Being strict carnivores, most owls live at the top of the food chain.

Barn Owl Food Chain

The barn owl lives in many diverse environments and can be found all over the world. Barn owls look different from other owls because of their heart shaped faces. They are known to nest in barns, hence the name. Barn owls eat mainly rodents, such as voles, mice and rats. These animals are all secondary consumers. They eat primary consumers, like bugs, as well as producers like fruits, seeds and other plants. The producers in the barn owl's food chain depend on the habitat. Usually fruit bearing trees, grasses and small shrubs provide food for the insects the rodents eat.

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