Great Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus)
Some people say that it looks like these birds have cat ears. That's why some people call them Cat Owls. Great Horned Owls are about the size of a grown-up cat - they are 22 inches tall.
They have brown feathers that are more lightly colored inside their wings. They also have white feathers on their throats.
Where they live: There are lots of Great Horned Owls in America, and they live in lots of different kinds of places. These owls like to live on the sides of cliffs, in deserts, in forests, and in other areas with lots of trees and bushes.
Great Horned Owls usually make nests inside of hollow trees. Sometimes they use nests made by hawks and crows, or they may take over a squirrel’s home in a tree hole. They also build nests in caves, stumps, or barns.
Nesting: Great Horned Owl mothers lay 2 or 3 eggs in these nests and sit on them for about 30 days. After the eggs hatch, the mother and the father will feed the baby owls for another 30 days - and those babies need a lot of food!
The young birds learn to fly well when they are about nine weeks old. They will live about 28 years. How old are you? If you were a Great Horned Owl, would you be pretty old?
Great Horned Owls that live in cold areas fly south to warmer areas during the winter to avoid cold weather.
What they eat: Great Horned Owls spend most of their time hunting. They hunt in the day and in the night. But they see better at night, not like people! They sit on branches and fly very quietly to the ground to catch their food that can be mice, rats, rabbits, squirrels, woodchucks, and even skunks. Sometimes, they will catch birds like small owls and ducks that are moving close to the water at night.
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