Great Horned Owlet Leaves the Nest

Some evening you may hear the call of the classic “Hoot Owl,”  sounding as if he’s saying “Whooo’s awake, me too.”  This is the call of the Great Horned Owl, the largest of our North American owls at 22 inches in length with a wingspan of 44 inches.

A friend called a couple of days ago to tell us that the Great Horned Owl owlet we watched earlier in the winter had left the nest.  We

Great Horned Owl mother brooding her chick

Great Horned Owl mother brooding her chick

dropped everything to rush down and see this fluffy baby with eyes of a killer.  There was only one owlet this year although the Mother typically lays up to four eggs.   Last year she had three chicks.  Great Horned Owls appropriate old nests and don’t build their own.  This owlet’s egg was probably laid in early to mid February.  The Mother then incubates the eggs which hatch in 28 to 30 days.  When we viewed the nest on March 17th (cautiously and from a distance), the mother appeared to be brooding (fluffed out, protecting the chicks) as she was sitting up on the nest.  The Mother broods the chicks for about three weeks and after about seven weeks, they are ready to leave the nest.  They can’t fly when they leave the nest but they remain perched while the parents continue to bring them food.  It takes about ten more weeks before they can fly and they remain with their parents until mid summer, learning to hunt.  They eat mammals such as rabbits and rats and also other birds, even other smaller owls.

Great Horned Owlet

Great Horned Owlet


4 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    jmgoyder said,

    I wish we had owls!


    • 2

      I see that there are ten species of owls in Australia so maybe there are some around you that you don’t know about. Most are out at night of course so we don’t see them as easily but I bet you might have some near you.


  2. 3

    Mary said,

    Great photos!


  3. 4

    As a Newbie, I am permanently searching online for articles that can be of assistance to me. Thank you


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