Utah Field Guide – Great Horned Owl

The great horned owl get its name from the large ear tufts on the top of it’s head. Just like a dog, great horned owls use these ear tufts to convey body language. When they get irritated the tufts lie flat and when they are inquisitive the ears stand upright.

Their facial disk may have orange-ish or gray-ish feathers, and whiter feathers that form a V between the yellow eyes with black pupils. These birds are efficient predators, prey are usually killed instantly when grasped by its large talons. They hunt mice, frogs, fish, small mammals even a pet maybe prey to this original silent killer.

They inhabit almost every habitat in North and South America except for extremes such has barren deserts, dense rain forests or high tundra. In Utah they can be found just about anywhere. A great place to view these beautiful birds of the night is at the Fielding Garr Ranch on Antelope island. For more information on the Great Horned Owl or any other creature in Utah, check out the DWR’S Conservation Data Center at wildlife.utah.gov

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