Great Horned Owls
Genesis has four full-time resident great horned owls.
- Sasha is one of our education owl stars. She joined Genesis on 3/13/2007, at six weeks of age with her brother who was later released. She fell out of the nest at a young age, and suffered a broken humerus bone rendering her flightless. She is glove trained and goes out on programs to educate people about great horned owls.
- Wachiwi, nicknamed Chiwi, is our other education great horned owl. He joined Genesis on 8/24/2008 at five weeks of age. He was discovered on the ground, and it is assumed that he fell from the nest. He broke his wing at the wrist, and ended up losing the wingtip. Chiwi is very vocal, and is learning how to go on programs right now. He's making lots of progress, and if you go to a program with us, you may see him!
- We also have two nameless great horned owls on display. Both were admitted on 2-12-09 from different sources. The first came to us from the Boone Police Department after flying into a car. He suffered from a deflated eye, and is now partially blind. The other came to us from Ashe Animal Control, and was tangled in barbed wire. She was left with damage to her patagium, rendering her non-releasable.
Known as Bubo virginianus, first published description in 1788 in Virginia territories. Great Horned Owls vary in color from a reddish brown to a grey or black and white. The underside is a light grey with dark bars and a white band of feathers on the upper breast. They have large, captive yellow-orange eyes, mostly bordered by an orange-buff facial disc. The name is derived from tufts of feathers that appear to be "horns" which are sometimes referred to as "ear tufts" but have nothing to do with hearing at all. The large feet are feathered to the ends of the toes, and the immature birds resemble the adults. Females are 10 to 20% larger than males.
Great Horned Owls hunt by perching on snags and poles and watching for prey, or by gliding slowly above the ground. From high perches they dive down to the ground with wings folded, before snatching prey. Prey are usually killed instantly when grasped by its large talons. A Great Horned Owl may take prey 2 to 3 times heavier than itself. They also hunt by walking on the ground to capture small prey or wading into water to snatch frogs and fish.