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Great Horned Owl Family VI

The kids are growing up!

Compared to many birds, Great Horned Owls remain with their parents a long time. They hatched in early March, from eggs laid in late January. By April, both parents were hunting through the night to feed their young. But for the last two weeks, the adults have not fed the young. The owlets have learned the skills they need to hunt for themselves. And any night now, the young owls will strike out on their own.

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Full Transcript

Transcript: 
BirdNote®
Great Horned Owl Family VI -
The Season Ends

Written by Bob Sundstrom

This is BirdNote.
 [Great Horned Owl pair hooting]
 It’s a cool morning in late September. Two young Great Horned Owls are roosting alongside their parents, perched out of view in a dense stand of trees. Compared to the adults, the owlets are a richer brown, and their cat-like ear tufts are a bit shorter. Otherwise the four birds look alike.
 [Great Horned Owl pair hooting]
 Compared to many birds, young Great Horned Owls remain with their parents a long time. Robins, for example, are fending for themselves only six weeks after they hatch. Our owlets are now almost seven months old. [Screech of Great Horned owlet] These two hatched in early March, from eggs laid in late January. The mother incubated the eggs for a month, never once leaving the nest. During that month, the male Great Horned Owl was the sole provider.
 [Great Horned Owl pair hooting]
 By April, both parents were hunting through the night. They airlifted in meal after meal to the rapidly growing young, everything from delectable ducks to smelly skunks. But for the last two weeks, the adults have not fed the young and they are hearing about it.  [Screech of Great Horned owlet]  Today could be the final day the family group roosts together. For any night now, the young owls will strike out on their own, moving beyond the home territory of their birth. [Great Horned Owl pair hooting]
 For BirdNote, I’m Michael Stein.
###

Call of the Great Horned Owl provided by The Macaulay Library at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. Recorded by W.R. Fish.  Begging calls of the owlets recorded by D.S. Herr and by D.T. Spaulding.
Producer: John Kessler
Executive Producer: Chris Peterson
© 2014 Tune In to Nature.org            September 2017

ID# GHOW-09-2008-09-29-KPLU   GHOW-09b

The owlets have learned the skills they need to hunt on their own.

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