Last (but certainly not least!) in my series of wintering and preparing for the launch of THIS IS THE BOAT THE BEN BUILT: a look at what the great horned owl is up to!
Unlike some other birds, great horned owls do not typically migrate during the winter. Instead they settle into nests they find and lay their eggs. Sometimes these nests were made by other birds like the hawk, crow and heron. Sometimes they use squirrel nests, hollows in trees, rocky caves, or abandoned buildings. Females normally lay two to four eggs and incubate them for 26-35 days. Great horned owls very aggressively defend their nest from intruders and respond with bill-clapping, hissing, screaming, and guttural noises when threatened. They will spread their wings and even strike with their feet if needed.
And now for an extra special treat: the Cornell Lab has a live camera stream where you can watch a great horned owl nest in Savannah, GA! While it is much warmer there than it is in the northern parts of this owl’s range, I thought it was amazing to watch it live and even look back at recordings of the hatching egg and new owlet. There is also footage of the owl protecting her nest from predators, and of the male and female owls returning to their nest with food. Let me know what you think! You can find it here: https://www.allaboutbirds.org/cams/great-horned-owls/
Besides waiting for spring, one owl in my life can’t stop hooting about the launch of THIS IS THE BOAT THAT BEN BUILT. It’s nearly here now – thanks for joining me on this wintering and waiting journey!