Saturday, September 18, 2010
Lately, after nightfall, we've been hearing the hoot of an owl. Tonight we heard two owls. If you click on the video and turn the sound up you can hear the owls. In mid-video, I saw the two very large birds fly away.
The owls are likely Great Horned Owls. The Eaton Canyon bird page says Great Horned Owls are common to our area. Other owls (like the western screech owl and northern pygmy) have been seen, but only rarely.
The Great Horned Owl is a fascinating bird. As I heard tonight, male and female owls call together - each in its own pitch. They hunt at night by swooping down from a perch to snatch their prey in their strong talons. Don't even think about shaking hands with a Great Horned Owl. The crushing power of their talons is almost ten times that of a adult human hand. Like most other raptors, they have extraordinary eyesight and hearing, but a very poor sense of smell. The later quality probably explains why skunks are a regular part of their diet.