Sunday, November 23, 2008

2:40 in the Freakin' Morning

Okay - last night I didn't get much sleep. We had an unexpected visitor show up at 2:40 in the Freakin' Morning!!

This is who showed up.

A Great Horned Owl, the Bubo virginianus

Length:  20 - 24 inches
Wingspread:  53 - 56 inches
Weight:  3.1 - 3.6 pounds

Can you believe how big these suckers get?!

It all started with a loud, screeching "HOOT" that sounded like it came from inside the bedroom. We both shot up from the noise. I hate being started from sleep.

It was pandemonium in the bedroom. All the cats got as close as they could to the north facing window in the room. Even the dog was perched on the corner of the bed so she could look out.

Each time the Owl hooted it sounded like it was in the room. We knew it was outside the window but couldn't see it. That's when we figured out it was perched right above the window on the eve.

On top of this it was having a lively conversation with two other owls. From the sound of it the closer of the two was either in our yard at the back, or in the trees just south of use. The second was further away to the north west.

We thought about running outside to see it, or perhaps from the attic window, but decided to just leave him alone. Like I said, I hate being started out of sleep because I have the hardest time getting back to sleep. So, I spent the next couple of hours listening to those three owls talk.

If you interested, here is some more info on this bird.

The great horned owl, commonly called the “hoot owl,” is the most aggressive and powerful owl in North America. It is named for the obvious feather tufts on top of its head. These feather “horns” are not ears. The ears are hidden below, and slightly behind the eyes. Vision is superb both day and night. Excellent vision, along with an acute auditory sense, makes locating prey a simple process. Like other owls, the eyes cannot move; they are fixed in the sockets. Fourteen neck bones allow the head to pivot 270 degrees or ¾ of a circle. It is the first of all birds to nest and lay eggs in Kansas. They are commonly sitting on eggs in February, occasionally in January.

Probably no other raptor in North America has a diet as varied as the great horned owl. It will kill whatever is available, including mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish and insects. With its poor sense of smell it is also willing to catch skunks.

This is one of the reasons we make sure the cats are in at night.

Well, till next time.....



Jennifer said...

What a neat bird... and what a neat experience (missing sleep notwithstanding!).

Sandy said...

I absolutely love owls. How lucky you are!