Great Horned Owl
Judging you atop a telephone pole or camouflaged under a canopy is the Great Horned Owl (GHOW). They glide effortlessly in silence equipped with excellent night vision and acute hearing so they can easily find the location of their prey. Though they only weigh 3lbs, they can easily carry prey weighing 9lbs!
Did you think those were ears sticking up….well they aren’t! Great Horned Owls sport “plumicorns”. These are tufts of feathers found on the top of their heads. It’s said that they use these plumicorns for communication. When their tufts are down, they may be annoyed and when perked up, they’re curious.
I almost collided with this GHOW on a hiking trail. It was boo’d up on an extremely low hanging branch and I didn’t even see the pair. Once I was approached, I suddenly had two foot long wings coming towards me. When I regained my breath and footing, this fearless forager was checking me out. I was pleased to see that those tufts were up!
When dusk falls, you can easily identify them by listening for their Morse-code like call- hoo-h’HOO-hoo-hoo. 🦉