Sunday, November 1, 2015

The Great Horned Owl

We are steadily approaching the autumn season.  The weather is changing, the foliage is turning into beautiful orange and red colors, and we see as well as hear more presence of our nocturnal friends, the owls. 

Missouri is home to various species of owls.  One of the most interesting of all the owls, in my opinion, is the Great Horned Owl.  All you have to do is look at one to see why they have earned the name, “Great Horned Owl.”

Junior, one of the resident Great Horned Owls here at the World Bird Sanctuary (photo: Gay Schroer)

The Great Horned Owl is one of the larger sized species of Owls, with documented weights ranging from 1.5 pounds up to 4.5 pounds.  As with most species of raptors, the females usually weigh more than the males.  Great Horned Owls have a long life span.  They can live well into their late 20’s in the wild, while there have been documented captive Owls that have lived up to 50 years of age.   Junior is 29!

After they leave the nest, these birds do not have any natural predators due to their size and strength.  They are capable of lifting more than their own body weight.  Because of this, their appetite goes well with their name, “Great!”  These guys do not eat nuts and vegetables.  They are strictly meat eaters.  They will eat pretty much anything that moves.  Great Horned Owls have the most diverse diet of any other species of owl.  This means they are capable of surviving in almost any type of habitat.  So whether you live in an urban area or a rural community, it is possible to have a Great Horned Owl sighting.
At a WBS Owl Prowl you may meet Junior or one of our other resident Great Horned Owls (photo: Gay Schroer)

If you would like to learn more about our nighttime friends, the owls, look into scheduling an Owl Prowl with us.  Owl Prowls are available on select weekends starting in November and run until the middle of March.  You can learn more about our Owl Prowls by going to the World Bird Sanctary website and clicking on the Events tab or giving me a call at 636-225-4390, extension 101.  You never know who or what you might find while attending an Owl Prowl.  We hope to see you there!

Submitted by Erica O'Donnell, World Bird Sanctuary Education Programs Coordinator

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