Baby owl shares breakfast in the nest with his mother
Great horned owls are one of the most spectacular of all the owls in North America. They are the heaviest and most powerful of the owl family, capable of taking down large prey and killing them instantly with their razor sharp talons. Their grip strength exceeds that of all other owls and they prey primarily on large rabbits and other rodents. They have even been known to prey on other owls.
This mother has been out hunting in the nearby meadow and forest. She has returned to the nest with part of a rabbit and she carefully tears off chunks of meat for her baby. He eagerly gobbles up the pieces that she offers. She demonstrates how to tear chunks off and swallow them and then she shows him how to swallow a large piece.
Great horned owls will often swallow their entire prey, or large pieces of it. They digest the meat and regurgitate the bones and claws, along with any other inedible parts. These can often be found as "owl pellets" littered around a nest site. Owls keep the rodent populations in check, often eating several each day.
This adorable and fluffy baby is approximately 9 weeks old. He has spent the past few weeks growing rapidly and developing the feathers that he will need for flight. The day following this footage, this baby clumsily dropped to the ground and fluttered into nearby brush to take a perch and learn how to fly. He will be cared for by his parents until he learns to hunt and fend for himself.
Great horned owls can live for nearly 30 years and they can swivel their heads more than 180 degrees. When we think of owls, it is often the Great Horned Owl that we envision. They have distinctive yellow eyes, prominent ear feathers, and a deep hooty call that is unmistakable. A wonder to behold, owls like these are a delight for any bird watcher or nature enthusiast. To capture such close up footage of a parent feeding a baby owl is an unforgettable experience.