Photo by Devra Cooper Great Horned Owl (Bubo virgianus)
How to identify
- Large conspicuous bird with grey and brown streaks.
- Characteristic tufts of feathers on its ears have earned it the name ‘horned’.
- Females are larger than males.
- Large yellow eyes.
- Hoots sound like ‘Who’s awake? Me too!’
Where to find
- Throughout North, Central and South America in forested areas.
- Most active hunting occurs at night, but they are often seen during the day.
A day in the life of a great horned owl
- No worries
- Great horned owls put very little effort into making nests, and will often just use an old abandoned nest from another raptor.
- But keep your distance
- They are very agressive in defending their nest and are strong predators.
- Ahead of the game
- Great horned owls begin nesting much sooner than other birds, often before the snow melts in northern climates.
- Home sweet home
- Great horned owls usually do not move far from the area where they were born.
- They usally eat small and medium size mammals and birds, such as mice, rabbits and ducks, but will also attack other larger species, such as porcupine and skunk. In fact, they are the only animal that regularly eats skunk.
- Their fur, feathers and bones of their prey aren’t digested, but instead are regurgitated as pellets.
- Like other owls, the edges of their wings are adapted to make them very quiet in flight, giving them an advantage over their predators.
Why they matter to us and how you can help
- What EALT is doing
- EALT protects habitat important for great horned owls. A fledging great horned owl has been spotted at our Glory Hills property.
- The great horned owl is the provincial bird of Alberta.
- Good luck or bad?
- Some cultures revere owls, while others fear them and consider the sight of one to be a bad omen.
- Resilient but vulnerable
- Despite habitat loss, great horned owls are fairly resilient. They often are found close to human settlements and are widespread throughout the New World.
http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/great_horned_owl/lifehistory http://www.hww.ca/en/species/birds/great-horned-owl.html Click here to return