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Athena The Great Horned Owl Shows Off Her Third Eyelid

Watch the Great Horned Owl Cam catch Athena using her third eyelid.

On the Great Horned Owl Cam, Athena gives viewers a look at her piercing stare while incubating her eggs. Have you noticed a transparent membrane sweeping across Athena’s eye when she blinks? This is her third eyelid—also known as the nictitating membrane—and all birds have them! The nictitating membrane is closest to the eyeball, underneath the bird’s normal eyelid. It helps keep the eye lubricated and closes to protect the eye when the owl is hunting.

Watch highlights from the season so far and follow the owls’ journey through their breeding season LIVE on the Great Horned Owl Cam.

Bird Cams is a free resource

providing a virtual window into the natural world
of birds and funded by donors like you

Pileated Woodpecker by Lin McGrew / Macaulay Library