Six facts about great horned owls

A male great horned owl perches on a tree in Ladner. Photo: Patrick Doheny/Flickr.

It’s approaching Halloween, a time to consider creatures of the night, such as British Columbia’s magnificent great horned owl, one of Canada’s most common birds of prey. This quirky bird:

  1. Sticks close to home. They usually stay within a close radius of where they were born.
  2. Is not afraid to mix it up. Often injured when attacking prey, they may sport porcupine quills, or the smell of skunk.
  3. Has an unusual eye colour: yellow.
  4. Stars in many a spooky soundtrack with its haunting, scene-setting whoo-hoo-ho-o-o.
  5. Hunts silently, then swallows small prey whole, but pulls large prey apart. Later regurgitates pesky extras like fur, bones, and teeth as pellets.
  6. Steals nests, taking over ones made by other species. These owls are lazy homemakers, but fearsome predators to a vole, rabbit, or mouse.

Source: Hinterland Who’s Who.

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