Last Updated: Jan 8th, 2011 - 16:45:13
| The Great Horned Owl
By Sarah Lane
Aug 19, 2006, 11:56 PST
Great Horned Owl
This large North American owl has prominent ear tufts and brownish feathers. It is found in almost all of the forested and semi-forested regions of North, Central, and South America. Great Horned Owls are unique as they are year-round residents of limited hunting ranges. They do not migrate during the seasons. A close relative of the Eagle Owl, these owls hunt only at night.
The Great Horned owl was named for its great size and large ear tufts that look similar to horns. It has enormous yellow eyes set in a broad face, a curved black beak, and long fluffy feathers that are brown or grey-brown. The female is larger than the male and weighs in at about 2 kg. The male weighs about 1-1.5 kg. With an average wingspan of 1.2 m, these birds are smaller than only the Snowy Owl.
An interesting characteristic of the Great Horned Owl is the fact that they dont construct nests or repair them. They steal the previous years nest of another raptor! This is because the trampling of their young owls reduces their nest to a mass of sticks rendering it useless. Hollowed trees are occasionally selected as nest sites. These owls are early nesters. Laying and incubation begins before the snow melts.
Great Horned owls have a wide variety of prey. They eat everything from shrews to songbirds to skunks and geese. The also prefer medium size mammals as well as birds, grouse, ducks, rabbits, hares, and mice. This silent hunter tracks mostly between dusk and dawn. Great Horned owls swallow small prey whole and larger prey are dismembered first. Then the fur, feathers, teeth, and bones are regurgitated as pellets. Although they have few natural enemies, 50% of the young die within first year from various causes. Unfortunately most of them are human related.
Source: Canadian Wildlife Service
© Copyright 2006 by Classbrain.com
Top of Page