Great Horned Owl Owlets – All Fluff And Winglets
Great Horned Owl Owlets – Fluff and Winglets
Great Horned Owls, Bubo virginianes, are around and abundant, we just are not usually aware of their presence.
Along with all of the usual owl environmental awareness attributes (keen eyesight, light, noiseless flight) this is the only large owl with conspicuous ear tufts. Now ear tufts may also be a thing of beauty in the owl world (there are some things we may never know) but they come in darn useful hunting small mammals, birds and other unwary creatures of the reptilian or amphibious nature that make a tasty midnight owl snack. Opportunistic hunter. Secrecy and stealth. Killer senses. Diverse palate. Attack!
Great Horned Owl Trivia:
Alberta’s Provincial Bird
Habitat preference for fragmented landscapes ranging from parks, farms, sparse woodlands, keeps this owl abundant.
Females usually larger, if the owl appears large it is probably a girl.
Eyes are among the largest and most acute in the Animal Kingdom.
Plumage varies geographically, some subspecies may have a better tan.
Weight 1-2.5 Kg. A small cat weighs more and this owl could probably out pounce.
Almost all prey are killed instantaneously by crushing or stabbing with the feet and talons.
Great Horned Owls are the most long-lived owl in North America.
Great Horned Owl Owlet Trivia:
Among earliest breeding birds in North America. Male attracts attention of female by hooting emphatically and puffing up his white throat. The male flies to potential nesting sites and stomp on it. Like all owls they take over nests instead of building them.
Young can fly short distances at 7 weeks. One of the owlets pictured below was already discovered about 300 meters from the nest so those winglets are already in action. They remain in the nest area into fall when they disperse much wider.
Great Horned Owls are known for their more aggressive instincts. If you feel like getting closer beware of their protective defences and heavy striking ability during nesting.