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nesting

The Great Horned Owl Nest

When Great Horned Owl eggs hatch, the downy owlets are the size of newborn chickens. Their mother broods them day and night. A few weeks later, the owlets can be left alone while both adults resume hunting at twilight. Great Horned Owl young remain in the nest for about six weeks, then climb out... read more »

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A Heron Nest Starts with Just One Stick

During winter and early spring, Great Blue Herons build their nests high in the treetops. The male delivers the supplies to the nest site stick by stick, as the female arranges things. It’s the perfect childhood home for their young, made without blueprints, architects or engineers. But by early... read more »

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Groove-billed Ani

The Groove-billed Ani's large, laterally flattened bill spits out its sharp, high whistles, slurred whinings, and various squeaks, pips, squeals, and growls. These retiring birds gather in loose groups, nesting communally. As many as four pairs of birds may use one nest, a bulky cup of twigs... read more »

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Great Horned Owl - Hungry Young

Great Horned Owls are found in more varied habitats than any other owl in North America. These owls often nest in trees, but may also nest on cliffs in arid areas far from trees. They nest early in the year, even in the dead of winter. The young hatch a month later, vocalizing inside the egg a... read more »

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How Nestlings Leave the Nest

Young birds leave their nests in different ways. Some shuffle tentatively along the nearest branch and practice flapping their wings, while others take the "big leap." Which path they take depends upon their species and the location of the nest. Young Great Horned Owls clamber out of the nest to... read more »

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Great Horned Owl III

This Great Horned Owlet - about 2-1/2 months old and already as big as its parents - is quite well feathered, although its underparts remain downy. Its wing and tail feathers are developing nicely, and it has begun to make short flights. By mid-May, the owlet still relies almost entirely on its... read more »

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Great Horned Owl Family in Summer

In late July, the Great Horned Owl chicks that we have been following are four and a half months old, and must fend for themselves much of the time. The young birds continue to learn valuable lessons by watching the adults hunt. Their first hunting forays were clumsy. But by late July, they've... read more »

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Egg-laying 101

Birds' eggs range in size from the tiny hummingbird egg to the eight-inch egg of the Ostrich. Swifts lay only one or two eggs. Ducks may lay as many as 16 and don't begin to incubate until all eggs are laid, so all the eggs hatch about the same time. Incubation can take as few as 11 days to as... read more »

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Raptor Breeding

It's April, but Great Horned Owls have been busy at their nests for two months. Golden Eagles are on their nests as early as the beginning of March. And Red-tailed Hawks (like this one) begin early, too. Why do these birds of prey nest so early? It takes a long time to raise a baby hawk or owl to... read more »

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Canada Geese Defend Their Territory

Usually sociable, Canada Geese are highly territorial during the breeding season. When faced with interlopers, nesting birds wave their heads from side to side and up and down, honking unceasingly, determined to drive the other birds off. Amidst the honking, you may hear a sound that scientists... read more »

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