An online resource based on the award-winning nature guide

Great Horned Owl Nestlings About To Fledge

5-17-19 great horned owls_U1A8938Great Horned Owls do not build their own nests, though they may provide some lining to an existing cavity or nest. Snags, cliffs and man-made structures provide nesting sites, but most commonly Great Horned Owls use the tree nests of other species such as hawks (especially Red-tailed) crows, ravens and squirrels. Most, but not all, nests are used for only one season. Pictured is a Great Blue Heron nest that has been usurped by a Great Horned Owl family – a feat achieved by the owls claiming the nest as early as February, prior to the return of herons.

After incubating her eggs for roughly a month, the female Great Horned Owl then broods her young for two to three weeks. The father’s role consists of bringing food to the female while she is incubating and brooding. She then tears the food up into bite-size pieces for the nestlings.

When the nestlings no longer need the heat their mother’s body provides, brooding ends but the mother stays with her nestlings until they fledge at about seven weeks of age. (Pictured: Great Horned Owl mother and two downy nestlings, roughly six weeks old. Thanks to Marc Beerman for photo op.)

Naturally Curious is supported by donations. If you choose to contribute, you may go to http://www.naturallycuriouswithmaryholland.wordpress.com and click on the yellow “donate” button.

5 responses

  1. Bill On The Hill

    Perfect start to my day Mary as I love this stuff!
    Not sure why really, but illegal immigration comes to mind here. Lol…
    Bill… :~)

    May 17, 2019 at 9:12 am

  2. Alice Pratt

    Such adorable, fluffy owlets. They are up so high!

    May 17, 2019 at 9:13 am

  3. Martha Cochran

    I LOVE your entries! And pictures. I would also love it if you could tell us where the photos are taken. So if we wanted to try and find the nest/area we could. Or just out of curiosity…

    On Fri, May 17, 2019 at 7:36 AM Naturally Curious with Mary Holland wrote:

    > Mary Holland posted: “Great Horned Owls do not build their own nests, > though they may provide some lining to an existing cavity or nest. Snags, > cliffs and man-made structures provide nesting sites, but most commonly > Great Horned Owls use the tree nests of other species such a” >

    May 17, 2019 at 11:00 am

    • Hi Martha,
      Thank you. 99% of my shots are taken in central Vermont or NH. Many of them are taken on private land where owners have given me permission to roam around, but would not appreciate my broadcasting the location online! The owls, which fledged yesterday, were in Georgetown, MA. Sorry not to feel I can give exact locations of my photos. I share your desire to know where a photo was taken in case I might have the opportunity to photograph it. If there’s ever a specific subject you wish to learn more about, email me at mholland@vermontel.net and I’ll get back to you.

      May 17, 2019 at 11:24 am

  4. Dorian Gossy

    Glad you’re posting again, Mary!

    On Fri, May 17, 2019 at 7:34 AM Naturally Curious with Mary Holland wrote:

    > Mary Holland posted: “Great Horned Owls do not build their own nests, > though they may provide some lining to an existing cavity or nest. Snags, > cliffs and man-made structures provide nesting sites, but most commonly > Great Horned Owls use the tree nests of other species such a” >

    May 17, 2019 at 11:08 am

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s