photo by Brian Lindberg
Great Horned Owl
Named for its large size, and the
large ear tufts that extend above the head. The tufts are not really
ears---most likely, they act to camouflage the bird by breaking up
its outline amidst tree branches.
names: Big hoot owl, cat owl, chicken owl, eagle owl,
hoot owl, king owl.
habits: Feeds on just about anything from the smallest
shrew to large hares and rabbits; gray, red, flying, and fox
squirrels; skunks (most birds have no sense of smell); porcupines;
and crows taken from their night roosts. Usually hunts at night, but
can also hunt by day. Usually carries prey to a feeding roost where
habits: This species is usually non-migratory. However,
when occasional food shortages occur within the breeding range, some
individuals are forced south. It is easiest to band these birds
during the first 2-3 hours of darkness, when they are flying low. As
the night wears on they may well be migrating higher.
habits: Takes over an abandoned nest from a Red-tailed
Hawk, Bald Eagle, heron, crow, or squirrel, or uses the hollow of a
tree. Both parents incubate the eggs for 26-36 days. Young first fly
63-70 days after hatching.
Most Great Horned Owls caught in autumn are of unknown sex; 2 known
adult males averaged 1536 grams; 4 adult females averaged 2190
grams. These were undoubtedly light (i.e., food- stressed).
expectancy: In captivity to 29 years. One banded bird in
Iowa lived 13-14 years before it was shot. Other banded birds have
lived 17 years, 4 months and 20 years, 7 months. More Great Horned
Owls die from shooting than any other cause.
Click here to see raptor statistics at Hawk Ridge