Raptor Report – Nesting Project Update

Great Horned Owls Nesting News

The great horned owl (Bubu virginiarus) is a native nocturnal predator that lives in the HighPoint Preserve, in NE Pennsylvania.   We have seen Great Horned Owls taking prey of various rodents and even a Mallard Duck.  The owl has powerful, taloned feet and large, yellow eyes.  The female owl is slightly larger than the male and has a wingspan of 3 to 5 feet.

We saw Great Horned Owls checking out our nesting site in the late Fall of 2020. On February 5, 2021, with a heavy covering of snow on our raptor nest, a female owl decided that it was time and laid prone on the snow in the nest.  By the end of the day, the owl had melted the snow and made an open spot down to the grass lining the nest and laid a single egg.   

Over the last 5 cold winter days and nights, the female has been laying on the nest, keeping the egg warm in sub-zero temperatures, occasionally perching on the side of the nest and calling.

The female has the primary role of incubating the egg(s) and the male partner typically brings prey to the nest to feed the female during the 28 – 38 days of incubation.    In the video clips we have heard a second owl returning the calls, but have not yet seen a male owl bringing food.  Check out the Edward L Rose Conservancy Facebook page for more videos.

We hope you enjoy this video of the nesting Great Horned Owl and share it with your family and friends. Time will tell if this results in a successful breeding season.

We will plan to continue monitoring the owls and provide video clips as we can.  In the future, we plan to replace the trail cameras with a hi-res webcam near the nest for on-line viewing.  Stay tuned.


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