Great horned owls got their name because of tufts of feathers that appear to be horns up around where their ears are located, which are often referred to as ear tufts yet have nothing to do with their ability to hear.
Like many owls, it's active at dusk. They perch on poles, fences or anything else that gives them elevation. From the high perches they dive down with wings folded until they snatch their prey.
Prey is usually killed instantly when grabbed by the owls large talons. These owls also hunt by walking on the ground to capture small prey or glide slowly above ground.
Great horned owls eat a variety of food ranging from frogs, birds and snakes to insects, squirrels, rabbits and even armadillos.
Great horned owls eat a variety of food ranging from frogs, birds and snakes to insects, squirrels, rabbits and even armadillos. These owls are strong enough to take prey up to three times heavier than they are at 30 to 60 pounds fully grown. They can have a wingspan up to 5 feet wide.
The beautiful great horned owls vary in color reddish brown to gray. Their underside is light gray with dark bars and a white band of feathers on their upper breast. They are colorful with large yellowish orange-colored eyes that stand out from a distance. These large eyes allow them to hunt during the night. Their great hearing helps with night hunting.
Great horned owls have large feet full of feathers right down to the end of their toes.
Merry Beth Ryan, a member of the Florida Outdoor Writers Association, can be reached at www.merrybethryanphotography.com, by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone (941) 544-5023.
The great horned owl has a classic sound in the wild and can be heard a long way off. Their call is a series of deep hoots.
They can be found in woods, marshes, city parks, mountain and urban forests. These owls roost perched on a tree or a pole - with eyes shut they sleep most of the day.
Many believe all owls can turn their head in a complete circle - not true. But they have an extra vertebra in their necks allowing them to turn their heads easily. Their eyes are fixed in the sockets so they cannot move them up and down or left and right. They move their entire head to compensate for having fixed eyes.
This particular owl usually takes another bird's nest rather than build its own. Their only enemy is other great horned owls although other birds will try to get to their eggs.