Great Horned Owl, Bubo virginianus

Andromeda was found on a Christmas Day on Beech Creek Road and had been shot through the wing at “the elbow”.  His hollow bones shattered in both directions, leaving no choice but to amputate the wing.

The Great Horned Owl is common in North America and the largest nesting owl in Tennessee.  They also occupy the largest range of habitat from desert to suburb.  Great Horned Owls are at the top of the food chain and have a broad range of prey in their diet. They eat birds as large as geese and herons,  amphibians, reptiles and invertebrates, but mostly mammals.  They are the only bird known to kill and eat skunks! As keen as their eyesight and hearing are, they cannot smell.

Courting begins in late fall to early winter. Usually two eggs are laid in January or February. Nest sites vary, but are often in tree hollows or snags and sometimes they use other birds’ nests. Incubating, mostly by the female, lasts 26-35 days.  Both adults feed the young, who leave the nest at five weeks.  They do not fly well until nine weeks and stay with parents up to three months.

Great Horned Owl Distribution Map