Owls are quite unique birds. Although they are classified as raptors (birds that use their talons/feet to catch prey), owls are very different from many other birds of prey in their anatomy, feather structure, and hunting techniques. They are noted for their large head and large eyes which are fixed in the skull, making it necessary for them to rotate their heads in order to change their view. Their hearing is very acute and in many species the ears, which are crescent-shaped slits beneath the facial feathers, are placed asymmetrically (unevenly) on the head in order to better pick up sound. Owls also have distinctive facial disks which help to direct sound toward the ears. The flight of an owl is almost noiseless due to tiny fringe-like structures found along the leading edge of the wing. This allows an owl to fly quietly towards its prey without detection.
The Eastern Screech Owl is one of our smallest owls, measuring only 8 to 9 inches in length. They have yellow eyes and prominent ear tufts which aren't ears at all but simply elongated feathers on the top of the head. Eastern Screech Owls are noted for occurring in two distinct colors, red and gray. Their small size and distinct ear tufts lead many people to believe that the screech owl is actually a baby Great Horned Owl.