Saturday, September 6, 2008

Adopt a Bird Spotlight: Junior (Great Horned Owl)

Junior's Story

Species: Great Horned Owl
Hatched: 1986

Junior came to us in a very unusual way. His mother laid an egg on a coal conveyor belt leading up from the river at an electricity plant. This was the second year in a row that this happened, and we can only assume it was the same female. The power plant staff gave us the egg and, as we had done the year before for his brother Coal, we incubated the egg at our breeding facility.

Junior has been a valued member of our education department for many years and has entertained and educated people all over the country. When he's not travelling, he resides at our Education Training Center (ETC) in Valley Park. He likes to shred things, prefers men, is a great "hooter," and loves to hoot to his friend Carmelita, who lives in a nearby mew.

To adopt Junior, simply click our donation button, make a donation of $100, and specify in your payment notes: Adopt-a-bird: JUNIOR. Also include your name, phone number, and mailing address so that we can send you your adoption materials!

Every donation helps to feed, house, and provide medical care for the bird of your choice! Adopt-A-Bird Parents Receive:

  • *A personal visit with the bird you adopt!!!!! Call 636-861-3225 to set up a time for
  • your personal visit.
  • * Certificate of Adoption
  • * Color photo of the bird you've adopted
  • * Sponsorship Card
  • * One year's subscription to Mews News (our quarterly newsletter)
  • * Life History and Natural History of the bird
  • * 10% Discount off WBS merchandise
  • * Invitation to Sponsors-only events like Camera Day
  • * Discounts on WBS Special Events
  • * WBS Decal

Natural History

great horned owl
bubo virginianus

Description largest owl native to North America; adults have large ear tufts which are not actually ears, but large tufts of feathers; face is reddish, brown or gray with a white patch on the throat; iris is yellow; underparts are light with brown barring; upper parts are mottled brown; legs and feet are feathered up to the talons; owls have binocular vision and the ability to turn their heads a full 270 degrees; an owl’s hearing is as good as, if not better, than it’s vision; owls have stereo hearing which allows them to triangulate the location of prey

Sex: females larger than males

Age: 5-20 years in the wild once past the critical first year

Length: 18-25” (average is 22”)

Wingspan: up to 5’ (average is 49”)

Weight: 2-5 lbs. (average is 3.1 lbs.)

Habitat: wide variety of wooded habitat; forests, swamps, deserts, rocky areas, farmland, and urban areas from sea level to 12,000 feet

Status: listed as “Least Concern”

Range: throughout most of North and South America

Behavior: hunts at dusk and during the night from a perch, while flying low over the ground, walking on the ground, or wading into water; among the earliest-breeding birds in North America; territories are claimed in the fall, and breeding takes place in January or early February; nesting is done in other birds’ stick nests, natural tree hollows, man-made platforms, or on cliff ledges or cave entrances; female lays 1-3 eggs and incubates for 26-35 days; young birds start to wander away from the nest in 6-7 weeks at which point they are called “branchers”; they are fully flighted at 10-12 weeks; fledglings are tended by the parents for up to 5 months; maturity is reached at 2 years

Diet: wide variety of small to medium mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles, fish insects, and occasionally carrion if other food is scarce; one of the few animals known to prey on skunks

Vocalization: low pitched, loud, monotone “ho-ho-hoo hoo hoo”; females call is higher pitched

Adopt A Bird spotlights are written and photographed by Gay Schroer.

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