In our last article on Great Horned Owl facts we learned about its description, its habitat, its hunting skills and its dietary habits. However, we couldn’t cover other aspects like nesting, behavior, reproduction, conservation status etc. We will cover those aspects in this second part titled Great Horned Owl amazing facts. So, let us begin…
Great Horned Owl Amazing Facts: 1-5 | Nesting Habit
1. These amazing birds of prey are known for nesting on several types of trees such as pine, beech, juniper, cottonwood etc. During breeding seasons, the nests are known to deteriorate in condition and they are rarely used in later years.
2. Their usual habit is to adopt a nest that some other species had built and then discarded. They may however choose to nest in deserted building, dead snags, cavities in live trees, human-made platforms and even cliff ledges.
3. It is not unusual to see the Great Horned Owl nest on ground. They occasionally do that. It is a known fact that the pairs will first roost together close to the nesting site continuously for several months before the female eventually lays egg.
4. The size of the nest and the material used for making the nest can vary differently among the Great Horned Owls. This difference comes from the fact that the nests are usually built by some other species such as crows, ravens, squirrels, herons, red-tailed hawks, other hawk species etc.
5. Some Great Horned Owls may choose to line their nests with a variety of things like downy feathers that they pluck from their own breasts, leaves, bark shreds, trampled pellets, feathers or fur from the prey that they kill etc.
Great Horned Owl Amazing Facts: 6-10 | Reproduction
6. Great Horned Owls are monogamous by nature. They will mate with same partner year after year despite the fact that they are very solitary creatures. They will recognize their partners during the mating seasons through calls.
7. If one of the partners dies or is removed from its natural habitat, the one that is left behind needs to find a new partner. This might take several years to happen.
8. During the breeding season they will be start with calls and courtship. The courtship usually starts in October and ends in December and for those that need to find a partner, the choosing of the mate takes place between December and January.
9. During courtship, the males emphatically hoot and lean over. At the same time, they also puff up their white throats and resemble a ball. The display of the white throats work as a visual stimuli in low light conditions. Yes, the courtship takes place in low light conditions.
10. During courtship, the male is known for flying up and down a perch and approaches a potential mate. The male will then try to rub his bill against the potential female. If the female is receptive, she will hoot but will ensure that her hooting is subdued in comparison to the male.