The Great Horned Owl is found all across North America, it is a reasonably common bird and is sometimes referred to as a tiger owl or a cat owl, its scientific name is Bubo Virginianus.

Identification: The bird varies in colour depending on its habitat, however it is always identifiable by its prominent ear tufts. Its wings, back, and tail are normally mottled with a dark brown with a base colour that varies from yellow in desert habitats to white in snowy habitats. Another identifiable feature is its white throat, its belly is white as well although this is banded with brown. The bird is reasonably large, it is roughly 2 feet long with a wingspan of around 4 or 5 feet. The males normally produce cries of 5 resonant hoots, with the females producing higher pitched hoots in shorter sequences.

Behaviour: The Great Horned Owl hunts normally at night, taking advantage of its good night vision and excellent hearing, it watches prey from a high perch before swooping down to seize its prey in its talons. The owl is aggresive and views most things smaller than it as prey including, possums, snakes, scorpions, rabbits, hawks, geese, smaller owls, frogs, lizards, insects, squirrels, fish, and even skunks, the smell of which can occasionally be found on the owls plumage. The owl has also been known to attack porcupines, which frequently results in death for both parties. The owls can cover large distances searching for hunting grounds however they follow no fixed migration patterns.

Breeding: To win a mate the male feeds the female and performs a display flight. The breeding takes place very early, sometimes in northern areas it takes place in late winter to provide time to teach the young how to hunt before the next winter. Frequently the owl moves into an old nest belonging to another large bird, it tends to nest between 20 and 60 feet above the ground, it can also use tree stumps, cliff ledges or even the ground, although it does require some form of cover. Little extra material is added to the nest except for occasional feathers. They normally lay around 2 or 3 eggs, very rarely going above 5. The female does most of the incubating, which lasts for around 4 or 5 weeks. Both of the parents take responsibility for feeding the young. The young owls can climb out of the nest and onto branches at 5 weeks, however they cannot fly until their ninth or tenth week. They stay in the nest for several months being cared for by the parents.

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