Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Great Horned Owls

Great Horned Owl Nest With Chicks
 The great horned owl is a common resident of forest through out most of North America and parts of South America. They are considered an edge species. This means that they prefer to nest in the woods close to open fields where they can hunt. They are primarily crepuscular, which means that they are most active at dusk and down. Like many species of owls great horned owls do not make their own nest. They usually "borrow" a hawks, herons, ravens, or crows nest or nest in a tree cavity. Sometimes, as in this case they will use a man maid object such as a nesting box.
Great Horned Owl Chick
Great horned owls are usually one of the first nesting birds here in the north. They are non-migratory so they stay on territory all year round. In January the courting begins, even though it is often between a pair that has previously mated. Once a nesting site is chosen the female lays her eggs and incubates them for 4 to 5 weeks. During this time the male's job is to bring home the bacon. After the eggs hatch the female continues to stay on the nest to keep the chicks warm until they are old enough to thermal regulate. Then both parents need to hunt to keep the hungry chicks fed. Great horns eat almost anything that they can catch. Typically where I live they eat a lot of rabbit. This pair of owls has nested in a public park here in the Twin Cities for many years, although this is the first time in this box. They are very popular with photographers and as you can see from the photo above they were quite bored with their fame and stardom. At this time of year the parents are preparing to evict the youngster soon so that they can get back to the business of producing a new clutch of chicks for me to photograph next year. 





9 comments:

DEE DEE said...

very different, lovely pictures

Melody Steenkamp said...

Fantastic birds, don't you think, i love them, your photograps are beautiful

Thank you for participating, have a nice day
Melody (abc-w-team)

jeannettestgermain said...

Interesting info! Didn't know they ate animals as large as a rabbit! Great captures:)

Margaret Adamson said...

I love that first image. The Owlets are so cute. Thanks for the info regarding this species, very interesting.

Roger Owen Green said...

when I think of owls, it's always this one
ROG, ABCW

Liz Needle said...

Love that shot with the babies. A fascinating bird.

Marie C said...

Beautiful photos! Having just finished Wesley the Owl about a barn owl, I'm fascinated to learn the many differences in the great horned and the barn!

Mary Cromer said...

Oh I love these, reminds me of the ones I shared this past Spring, just beautiful!

Carol said...

Love the picture with the babies...