Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Great Horned Owl

Although large, Great Horned Owls can be surprisingly cryptic. This owl was on a nest in a relatively small tree, amazingly over a parking lot in the Everglades National Park in Florida. A park ranger pointed the bird out to me, and I showed it to others. I did not expect a nesting owl among the traffic and tourists.

Here in Minnesota, Great Horned Owls are early breeders. They begin to lay eggs by mid-February, with young hatching in April or May. Despite Minnesota's harsh weather, this early nesting allows hatching during peak rodent populations in the spring. I am not always happy to see these owls, as I am told that Great Horned Owls in Minnesota displace Barred Owls.

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