Backyard Bird of the Month for February: Great Horned Owls

Even in the thick of winter, you might hear Great Horned Owls hooting back and forth to each other through the cold nights. Pairs often call together; the male is the one with the larger, deeper voice. Great Horned Owls tend to nest unusually early for birds in the north and are thought to be Maine’s earliest nesting bird, possibly to give the young more time to learn hunting skills, or possibly for this nocturnal bird to take advantage of the long winter nights. Along with the Barred Owl, it’s the most widely distributed owl in Maine. Great Horned Owls are not fussy nesters; they’ve been known to make their nests in nests abandoned by other birds, cavities in both dead and live trees, and even deserted buildings.

Backyard Bird of the Month is a feature by Maine Audubon created for the Maine Home Garden News, the newsletter of the University of Maine Cooperative Extension: Garden and Yard.

Photo: Sherri Emery/Maine Audubon