Great Horned Owl
(Bubo virginianus)

Great Horned Owl

Weighing up to 3 1/2 pounds and having a wingspan of nearly 5 feet, the great horned owl is Utah’s largest resident owl. It lives throughout the state, including our densely populated cities.

Great horned owls are remarkably well adapted for catching prey. Sharp curved talons up to 1 1/2 inches long grasp and kill a wide variety of prey including mice, rabbits, squirrels, ducks, porcupines, skunks, fish and more. Specially adapted silent wings, acute hearing, sound-gathering disc-shaped faces, extra large eyes 10 times more sensitive to light than those of humans, and necks that can turn 270 , are among the adaptations great horned owls possess to make them such efficient predators.

Great horned owls do not build their own nests, but instead, use those built by hawks, crows and squirrels. If you spot an active nest though, beware. Female great horned owls are very protective of their 4-5 down-feathered young and might use those sharp talons if someone gets too near!

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