Lakeside Nature Center
Critter Corner - Great
DID YOU KNOW:
Soft, velvety feathers allow owls to fly silently. Special eyes allow them to see clearly, even on pitch black, moonless nights. Large ear openings, hidden under the feathers give owls the finest hearing of any animal on earth.
The great horned owl is a ferocious night-time hunter that uses its large feet and sharp claws (talons) to catch and kill its prey, which may be a small as a beetle to as large as a skunk or even a wild turkey.
Great horned owls do not make their own nests, but use nests that were made by other animals such as squirrels, crows and especially red-tailed hawks. The female owl lays two to five eggs in February. She plucks the feathers off her stomach so that her warm bare skin covers the eggs and keeps them warm even when the temperature is below freezing. The eggs hatch in four to five weeks.
The owls are covered with feathers of mixed brown, gray, tan, which and black. These colors make them difficult to see in trees, Habitats vary from forests to cities to open desert. They may nest in trees or caves, and sometimes even on the ground.
Large, strong talons are the first line of defense. Perhaps the several feathers that stick up like a set of horns (these are NOT ears), and their huge yellow eyes make them appear more threatening.
Check out Lakeside Nature Center's Great Horned Owl.
To learn more about Great Horned Owls
(Photo Credits: Chicks from US Department of Fish & Wildlife; All others from Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife)