Sunday, November 20, 2011

Great Horned Owl

The Great Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus) is found throughout most of North America and selected parts of South America. Unlike some of Michigan's birds, Great Horned Owls spend the winter here, nesting in January & February.

It's easier to hear these big predators, than to see them since they are active at night. Their hoot is the characteristic "who who." ( shares some recorded hoots.)

The owl's "horns" are not ears, just distinctive tufts of feathers.

Great Horned Owl territories often overlap with Red-tailed Hawks, with owls hunting at night and hawks hunting in daylight. Owl wing feathers are much softer than hawk feathers, allowing silent night flight. The stiff hawk feathers allow for higher speeds.

The bird pictured here is used in educational programs at the Kalamazoo Nature Center.

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