Great Horned Owl - Photo Copyright Ward Cameron 2003 - Click to view a larger image Great Horned Owl - Photo Copyright Ward Cameron 2003 - Click to view a larger image Great Horned Owl - Photo Copyright Ward Cameron 2003 - Click to view a larger image Great Horned Owl - Photo Copyright Ward Cameron 2003 - Click to view a larger image  
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Great Horned Owl
Bubo virginianus

Owls
Typical-Owl Family (Strigidae)

Size: Length: 46-64 cm Wingspan: 91-152 cm

Description: This common owl is the provincial bird of Alberta. It is a year-round resident of the mountains, and like most owls, is often heard before it is seen. It is the classic hooting owl that you hear and see on most television programs where owls make an appearance. The call is a very low "hoo-hoo-hoo-oo-oo". They can be easily identified by their long ear tufts, and are the only 'eared' owl in the mountains. They are dark mottled-brown, with a short, black, hooked bill. The eyes are yellow, surrounded by a rust coloured facial disks with dark outlines. The dark breast shows a distinct horizontal banding of dark-brown and white.

They use their excellent sight and hearing to track their main prey, mice, voles, squirrels, hares, grouse and even ducks. They even occasionally hunt porcupines. They swoop from a perch, silently descending upon their prey. The feathers of owls are designed to allow silent flight, and mixed with cover of darkness, makes them a formidable hunter. Small animals are eaten whole, with the indigestible parts later coughed up as white, pellets. This is a typical behaviour of owls. They adopt the former nests of hawks and crows, as opposed to building their own. They will aggressively defend their nest against any intruders. They are detested by crows, which continually harass them as they while away the daylight hours perched in a favourite spot.

Related Links: Alberta's Owl

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All Material Ward Cameron 2005

 

 

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