Saturday, November 24, 2012

Great Horned Owl

The winters here in Minnesota can be pretty drastic. During the winter there are less thing for me to photograph. With no bugs around my photography turns almost exclusively to birds. Unfortunately there are also a lot less birds around, since there is much less for them to eat, however many of the birds that you can find in the winter are spectacular. Some of the cool birds take me a bit of travel if I want to see them but a few can be found all around the state.  
Great horned owls are resident here year long. Their down feathers protect them from the cold and they eat 
almost anything so it is very rare that they can not find prey. Staying around during the winter provides them with the advantage of nesting early. Here in Minnesota they are often on the nest by the end of January. This allows the young owls to have time to grow large enough to defend themselves before many of the other avian predators return to the area. It also helps in finding a nest. Great horned owls do not make their own nest so they have to borrow one, usually from a hawk, heron, or squirrel. Since most hawks and herons do not return that early in the year the owls often have a number of empty nests to chose from. The second photo is of a GHO chick branching. Before they can fly young GHO will climb around the branches of the tree where the nest is located. Sometimes they fall, but the parents will still feed and care for the chick on the ground. Unless a person comes by and finds them and takes them home. If they keep them for too long the owl will be imprinted and will not be able to be returned to the wild. So if you find a chick the best thing to do is to leave it be. If it looks injured or like it might be in danger from ground predators (coyotes, fox, raccoon  house cats) then take it to a rehab facility. Most facilities will give it any care it needs and then return it to the nest if possible, that is what they do at The Raptor Center.   


13 comments:

TexWisGirl said...

so beautiful!

edenhills said...

I love Great Horned Owls and was horribly disappointed when the tree a pair were nesting in fell in a storm. I did find a baby on the ground this year, so I know they are still around. Yes, I did leave the baby after taking a few pictures. :-)

Monica said...

What a great shot (as all your photos on this blog) of the great horned owl! Beautiful bird!
:)

Andrea said...

wow, that is quite big, I haven't seen an owl in the wild.

Audrey said...

se qu il est beau !

sparkle100-havealook.blogspot.com said...

Wow I am attracted to owls.

A beauty #1 Pix.

I am getting winter here also. Yer Winter is pretty.

I went through all my dvds. I am now

picking from the crop. And enter them. They are my pictures.

As I like to stay in the picture groups of days entries.

So you can do that. I know others are doing that.

Misty DawnS said...

Spectacular photos!

Pat said...

Lovely photos of the adult and chick.

Snap said...

I love owls. One of my favorite is Ariel -- a great horned owl who lives at the Houston zoo. She is blind in one eye and has a nice home there. Your posts are always filled with wonderful info. Lovely shots.

Bek said...

Wow! So beautiful. The only ones I've ever seen were captured in a zoo or similar park.

DeniseinVA said...

Such handsome birds!

Huldra said...

WOW.. You are so lucky to have these around! Beautiful pictures. Thank you for the lesson aswell :)

lorik said...

Great shots! You are so lucky to find them..and your photographs are so detailed . I have only ever seen an owl once - and that was just a silhouette . I saw it through my window one evening.