Great Horned Owl – A Powerful Raptor
The owl…. makes most of us think of the “wise old owl”, Halloween, and hoot-hoot. Not me, for I have seen the Great Horned Owl up close. He is another bird which takes care of his own bird feeder plans. (pun intended) The Great Horned Owl is a huge bird with a really large beak and big feet with long, thick black talons. One evening just at dusk our daughter and I left the house in the car and we passed a neighbor’s mailbox as I was slowing to stop at the intersection. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw something, but wasn’t sure just what. I put the car into reverse and backed up and we were staring face to face at eye level with an owl that had to have been two feet tall standing on the mailbox.
He didn’t move, he just stared, and I was glad the windows were up for I wasn’t so sure he wouldn’t have come into the car after us. I had seen him in the weeks before high in a pine tree near our home. I could tell he was large, but up close he was simply frightening.
He was so alarming, I found myself sharing the story with friends. One of those friends had raised and studied these owls back in the eighties. When I described this creature, she immediately knew exactly what I was talking about and shared a little tip with me. She said, “You do know his beak is so strong, he can snap a broom handle in two.” Then she added, “I wouldn’t let Minnie outside unless you are right there with her.”
Minnie was our miniature dachshund weighing less than ten pounds. We had nicknamed her minnie-rat, because she was about the size of a wharf rat. I had already been thinking the same thing, and she confirmed it. Needless to say, Minnie was always accompanied outside after that and I always stood close enough to her hoping our neighborhood raptor wouldn’t be brave enough to come down with me standing there.
Read on to see what is going on in New Mexico according to the News website, Gather.com.
When Giant Owls Attack: Dog Owners Blame Birds For Death
November 11, 2011
There would be nothing so horrifying as looking in your backyard only to see giant owls swooping up your pet and carrying him off. This scary scene seems to be playing out in reality in Albuquerque, New Mexico. But, are these pet owners blaming owls for something they had nothing to do with?
In the cases of the dead and injured pets, one woman heard a “yelp” from her puppy before he disappeared from the backyard. He was sadly found dead two days later by neighbors. Another dog owner found claw marks on the back of her poodle. She believes the huge owls tried to grab her dog for a wire-haired meal.
According to a zookeeper at Rio Grande Zoo in Albuquerque, the largest owl species in the United States is the Great Grey Owl, which can have a wingspan of up to 5 feet. That is indeed a large bird and one no one wants to be attacked by. These giant owls usually keep the rodent population down ( good thing!), but they have also been known to eat any small animal they can carry away. The really creepy thing is that the owls are silent and stealth-like when they approach their prey. Their next meal doesn’t even know what happened until they are in the owl’s clutches and being carried off to be eaten.
Rough stuff, I know, but sometimes forewarned is forearmed. The large owls can definitely pick up a small dog or cat. I would echo the warning my friend gave me years ago not to let the smaller pets outside by themselves if you’ve seen one of these large owls in the area.
Read the entire article on this bird of prey here…
Have you ever been exposed these creatures and this problem? If so, please share with the rest of us. Thanks. You may want to read a recent post of ours about another raptor, the Cooper’s Hawk.
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Filed under: Birds of Prey