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thumbnail Great horned owl near Lake Tohopekaliga, Florida
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Great horned owl near Lake Tohopekaliga, Florida © Matthew Studebaker/Minden Pictures
No, those aren’t really horns on the great horned owl, shown here blending in nicely with its surroundings in central Florida. The distinctive tufts of feathers on top of its head are known as ‘plumicorns.’ They have nothing to do with hearing—instead, they’re thought to be used to show expression and for camouflage. Feel free to impress your friends with this bit of trivia during the Great Backyard Bird Count, a four-day event in February that invites participants to help monitor bird populations.