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Great Horned Owl

Bubo virginianus


Great Horned Owls can vary in colour from a reddish brown to a grey or black and white. The underside is a light grey with dark bars and a white band of feathers on the upper breast. They have large, staring yellow-orange eyes, bordered in most races by an orange-buff facial disc. The name is derived from tufts of feathers that appear to be "horns" which are sometimes referred to as "ear tufts" but have nothing to do with hearing at all. The large feet are feathered to the ends of the toes, and the immature birds resemble the adults.


They do not build a nest of their own but utilise the nests of other birds such as the hawk, crow and heron. They may also use squirrel nests, hollows in trees, rocky caves, clumps of witches broom, abandoned buildings, or on artificial platforms.


This nestsite is located inside a large barn, open at both ends. I assume the sticks were placed there by the caretakers of the barn.

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KarenL 7 years ago

How sweet! We hear a pair of horned owls every evening but I've never actually seen them. Hopefully I will be able to spot the nest next year.

Spotted by

Salt Lake City, Utah, USA

Lat: 40.93, Long: -112.17

Spotted on Mar 5, 2006
Submitted on Oct 27, 2011

Spotted for Mission

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