5 Facts About The Great Horned Owl – Including A Winter Baby!

great horned owl

Look at those eyes!

The Great Horned Owl is an awesome bird that lives throughout North America and is common in the Rocky Mountains.  Here are some fun facts about this bird, including how it adapts to the harsh winters of the Rockies.

Lately I have written several posts about how animals survive winter.  Their main strategies are to hibernate, migrate, or adapt.  Well, one of the cool facts about this bird is how it adapts to cope with winter.  Some of these other facts will show you how cool and special owls and specifically the Great Horned Owl is.

great horned owl5 Facts About The Great Horned Owl

They usually nest in trees such as cottonwood, junipers, beech, and pine.  Interestingly, they don’t build their own nests, but use a nest that was built by some other bird and make it their own.  They may use the nest of various hawks, crows, ravens, or even squirrels.

great horned owl

Babies in April. Photo via Flickr.

Unlike most animals, these birds will usually breed and raise their young during the winter in January or February!  Remember, there are not many animals that give birth during the winter, so this is pretty special.

During the winter if there is not enough food they may change their feeding habits.  Normally they hunt at night, mostly during dusk and dawn.  However, if there is little food in winter they may hunt during the daytime.  This means that the Great Horned Owl does adapt to survive winter by changing its feeding habits.

great horned owl

These owls will eat small and large mammals.

This bird is a carnivore, eating all variety of small birds and mammals.  In fact, this predator can catch and take down birds or mammals as big as or larger than itself!  These owls can catch and kill Ospreys or Peregrine Falcons!  Additionally, these owls will eat smaller food, such as scorpions, mice, and frogs.

These birds are covered in soft feathers that serve more than one purpose.  Those feathers help keep the owl warm during winter, but they also allow it to fly silently.  Owls are silent killers as they stealthy sneak up on their prey.

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