15 There shall the great owl make her nest, and lay, and hatch, and gather under her shadow: there shall the vultures also be gathered, every one with her mate.
This photo is icky, but you can clearly see what species this silhouette is. S/he is sitting on the American Kestrel nesting box we put up last spring.
I think this is the closest I’ve ever been to the big owl. I actually had gone in and out two times before I noticed this out of the corner of my eye. Something by the Kestrel box did not look right. Ooooh! I went back in to get the camera and to tell those who were awake. I stood in the front yard only where I had been before. I knew the picture would be pretty bad, but this was cool! I think it sat there for about 10-15 more minutes before flying east toward the creek.
I had been wondering if they were still in the area. We had not been waken by their night-song in awhile.
This owl species is why we don’t have any other owl species. Besides the delightful smelling skunk, the Great Horned also preys on other owls. I guess it doesn’t like the competition for aromatic delicacies. Actually, these owls will prey on just about anything. For the sensitivity of my readers, I will not list some of the more surprising prey.
We are waiting for Kestrels to take up residence, but maybe this is why they haven’t. ?? Starlings started to move in last year, but Papa boarded up the hole before they could get far in nest building. We were told they prefer having tree cover. As you see here, that’s not a problem. Also, the Kestrel hole is too large for their liking- 3 inches in diameter. No one told these Starlings they need smaller holes.
Unlike some owls, the Great Horned is not a cavity nester. They reuse a previously built nest (by some other bird) that is near the top of tall trees. They are a hearty bird; sometimes laying eggs in January. In these northern states, that is cold!