Sisters Country birds

 

Last updated 2/14/2023 at Noon

DOUGLAS BEALL

Our most common owl is the Great Horned Owl, [Bobo Virginianus]. A nocturnal hunter, they hunt silently, gliding over fields and woodlands in search of mostly small mammals. However Great Horned Owls (GHOs) will also prey on other owls, hawks, snakes, and young alligators. Over 250 prey species have been identified. They are native to a large geographic range that covers most of North America and extends south into Central and South America.

Males hoot throughout the year, but females only hoot during mating season.

Great Horned Owls begin their mating behavior of hooting, screeching, bowing, and rubbing beaks in December. They begin nesting in January, and they often take over other animal or bird nests or tree cavities and do not build their own. One to six white eggs are laid and gestated for 26 to 35 days. Both parents bring food to the nest. The owlets start roaming the nest at six to seven weeks and are called “branchers.” They fledge at about nine to 10 weeks.

A very aggressive owl, they maintain their territories up to eight years. In captivity GHOs have lived up to 38 years, however in the wild 13 years is common. Their only natural enemies are other Great Horned Owls. Groups of owls are referred to as a “parliament,” a “stare,” a “study,” or a “wisdom.”

For more GHO images visit http://abirdsingsbecauseithasasong.com/recent-journeys.

 

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