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Who needs a cat when you've got an owl!

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sharptail grouse
1 hour ago, C.J.L. said:

 

In Montana 3 years ago a few miles south of Canada late November bird hunting along a tree line there was a great horned owl hanging out with a snowy owl sitting in the same tree. When I'd bumped the snowy into flight the horned would fly down the tree line to same tree snowy landed like they were buddies.  A horned owl is a good 1/3 bigger than a snowy and I was kinda thinking that horned owl was just waiting for snowy to fly out into the open so he could get his shot in.  I didn't fly any game birds in that spot so maybe them two cleaned out all the game and it was owl eat owl time.  

 

I read once where the Inuits place posts along their arctic fox trap lines with a leg hold trap on top to catch snowy's for eaten.  Might be that ol horny owl liked eating snowy's too.  

I had the privilege of working on a snowy owl breeding study for 3 years in the Arctic. The Inuit historically ate snowy owls, especially in lean times. I'm pretty sure its a thing of the past and they were protected by the Tribe were we were working. I'm surprised at the size difference - weight-wise they are about the same though snowy owls actually have a bigger wingspan and can top out a little heavier. I'm also surprised the snowy owl was spending any time in the trees. I've seen quite a few in MT during the winter and they always are sitting on some high point in open country  just like they do on the tundra. Here its usually a fence post or a power pole or a building.  Maybe it was sick. There is no space here to tell the tale but my then girlfriend (who was my field partner) once gave mouth to mouth to a comatose snowy owl fledgling that ended up landing in a saltwater lagoon. We got it breathing again, warmed it up under a heat lamp and released it the next day. If you ever saw how disgusting it is around a snowy owl nest after a summer of eating lemmings you would wonder how I ever kissed that girl again.

All that said Great Horned Owls will kill any raptor(or about anything else) up to their own size if they can get the jump on it and they are hungry enough. And as far as Barred Owls eating baby wood ducks - they've been eating baby wood ducks (as have almost everything else that eats meat) since before we were around to worry about it. They gotta eat too and thats why wood ducks have such big broods. ;)

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quailguy
2 hours ago, sharptail grouse said:

I had the privilege of working on a snowy owl breeding study for 3 years in the Arctic. The Inuit historically ate snowy owls, especially in lean times. I'm pretty sure its a thing of the past and they were protected by the Tribe were we were working. I'm surprised at the size difference - weight-wise they are about the same though snowy owls actually have a bigger wingspan and can top out a little heavier. I'm also surprised the snowy owl was spending any time in the trees. I've seen quite a few in MT during the winter and they always are sitting on some high point in open country  just like they do on the tundra. Here its usually a fence post or a power pole or a building.  Maybe it was sick. There is no space here to tell the tale but my then girlfriend (who was my field partner) once gave mouth to mouth to a comatose snowy owl fledgling that ended up landing in a saltwater lagoon. We got it breathing again, warmed it up under a heat lamp and released it the next day. If you ever saw how disgusting it is around a snowy owl nest after a summer of eating lemmings you would wonder how I ever kissed that girl again.

All that said Great Horned Owls will kill any raptor(or about anything else) up to their own size if they can get the jump on it and they are hungry enough. And as far as Barred Owls eating baby wood ducks - they've been eating baby wood ducks (as have almost everything else that eats meat) since before we were around to worry about it. They gotta eat too and thats why wood ducks have such big broods. ;)

Years ago on my then quail lease I found a harrier hawk (marsh hawk) that had been predated by a GHO.  My snowy owl knowledge is very limited, I’ve seen two. The only large owls I’ve seen that did not perch in a tree, at least a dead tree, are short eared owls. And burrowing owls, but they are hardly large. 

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Big Al
1 hour ago, quailguy said:

Years ago on my then quail lease I found a harrier hawk (marsh hawk) that had been predated by a GHO.  My snowy owl knowledge is very limited, I’ve seen two. The only large owls I’ve seen that did not perch in a tree, at least a dead tree, are short eared owls. And burrowing owls, but they are hardly large. 

 

We have short eared owls that hang out around the house at the ranch.  They'll perch on fence posts and the power pole.  Their call is like a raspy bark.

There are lots of GHOs on the property but they never come around the house.

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quailguy
24 minutes ago, Big Al said:

 

We have short eared owls that hang out around the house at the ranch.  They'll perch on fence posts and the power pole.  Their call is like a raspy bark.

There are lots of GHOs on the property but they never come around the house.

Well, I guess that is a good example of how critters behave and the danger of one mans views.  I’ve seen short eared owls on the prairie in Montana and the Dakotas as well as in Texas during the winter and have never seen one on power poles. Only in the air and on the ground. One of my GSPs would point them. 

GHOs we had in numbers around our place in Texas. They had hooting contests in the live oaks around the house. 

Oh well, more observation brings in more data.  

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sharptail grouse

Short eared owls (like so much of everything else except humans and a few other generalists) are declining across their range population-wise. The guy I worked for in AK on snowy owls cut his teeth on short eared owls and was really into them, so I got to hear about them a lot. They are found on every continent except Antarctica and Australia. They like to use a certain sort of grassland type and show up in good  years for high rodent population numbers. They are still locally common around the right grasslands in good rodent years but here there are sometimes almost none for a several years in a row. They move around a lot and it is supposedly mostly driven by cyclic prey abundance. It was a good vole year this year so there were some around here this winter. If I remember right they also have the highest wing loading of any raptor (at least in North America) and can out climb the fastest falcon that ever lived. They just float straight up.

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jeff88

This is a juvenile Great Horned owl from the bayou behind our house.  We have many of them in the area, evenings I've heard them calling back and forth and have often seen them at dusk.  This little guy may have fallen from the nest.  The owl rescue group has been notified, they could adopt and then release if needed.  (Picture by my wife this morning.)

Young Horned Owl.jpg

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redwing

Pity owls don't eat cats, feral cats a HUGE problem everywhere.

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1971snipe

I love listening to the various owls around our house.  But an owl perched on the back porch is bad luck I think, possible wizard school invitation notwithstanding.   

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mshowman

We have a good number of owls around my home in Ohio but nothing compared to the numbers I see and hear when I’m in Florida. Anytime, day or night, I can see them in the trees. After Hurricane Michael many of the trees were destroyed, including  the one in the picture below. I guess that, and the disrupted lives of their prey, is the reason they had to find new vantage points...like golf carts. 

35EC85FC-FE05-41E1-A219-BAE1E6319F87.jpeg

156436B6-50BD-4012-801D-C4C9238014C7.jpeg

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C.J.L.
6 hours ago, redwing said:

Pity owls don't eat cats, feral cats a HUGE problem everywhere.

 

Great horned owls eat plenty of cats.  Those missing cat signs folks post on telephone poles? If kitty didn't get run over by a car odds are an owl or coyote had it for supper.  

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Spin
1 hour ago, C.J.L. said:

 

Great horned owls eat plenty of cats.  Those missing cat signs folks post on telephone poles? If kitty didn't get run over by a car odds are an owl or coyote had it for supper.  

I believe a horned owl can be more than capable of killing a house cat. They are a natural predator of skunks and  those stinky weasels are not an easy win.

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Treerooster
1 hour ago, Spin said:

I believe a horned owl can be more than capable of killing a house cat. They are a natural predator of skunks and  those stinky weasels are not an easy win.

 

I know Bald eagles kill cats, seen the remains of cats in their nest several times. A Great Horned Owl I don't think would have any trouble, and maybe more opportunities at night, to hunt cats.

 

We have GHO,s around my house which is on the edge of town and I know they reside in town too.

 

When I have a very small pup I never let it out in the yard without me being around. One night I had the pup out in the yard between me and the house and a GHO came swooping over the house, low to the roof, and pulled up as he saw me. I swear he was going to snatch my pup.

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GuyO

The golf course I worked on in Maryland had plenty of owls. Over the years we had a few fledglings fall out of nests. We had a lot of specimen oaks and loblollys for nesting. One day I was helping the crew catch up on mowing. I was on a mower heading backwards on one hole to mow the Tee. I pulled over to the side of the hole to allow a group to tee off the tee I was going to mow. As I sat there beside a big loblolly idled down something fell and hit my shoulder. I looked at my shoulder and saw blood. I looked down on the ground to see a freshly severed rabbit head! I looked straight up into the tree and about 20 feet up sat a Great Horned owl glaring down at me! I guess I disturbed his lunch!!

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