Great Horned Owl

Bubo virginianus

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These large, beautiful birds are ubiquitous with the Americas, as they can be found almost everywhere in the western hemisphere. They are easily identified by their large ear-tufts which, from a distance, can resemble horns and give the bird its unusual name. In the Pacific Northwest, Great Horned Owls are generally dark in color, ranging from a mottled brown to a dark gray. Owls found further north are generally lighter in color in order to blend in to their often snowy surroundings. The bird has large yellow eyes, no visible neck and the ability to rotate its head almost completely around.

Primarily a nocturnal species, the large eyes aid in hunting primarily shrews, mice, rabbits and other small mammals. On occasion, Great Horned Owls are known to feed on fish and other birds. These owls are not migratory and thus can be found almost year round in their roosting areas.

Range and Habitat

Great Horned Owls can be found extensively throughout Oregon, particularly in woodlands and forested areas. Occasionally, these birds may nest in urban areas or public parks where they may feed on domesticated animals like fowl and cats. They can be spotted all along the Oregon Coast, although they are more common at higher elevations in the Coast Range Mountains.

Conservation Status