Birder’s Notebook; Great Horned Owl (GHOW)

Birder’s Notebook by Bob Andrini; 24 March Entry. The past couple of weeks we have heard the unmistakable “Hoo-hoo-hoo-hoo-hoo” of a great horned owl. In days of old they had many nicknames including 5-hooter, hoot owl and tiger owl.

The scientific name of the great horned owl is Bubo virginianus: Bubo is Latin for a horned owl; and virginianus is Latin for Virginia from where the type specimen was found.

Great horned owls are common is Illinois and when they are courting, the male and female will call back and forth to each other. If you listen closely to the calls, you can tell the male (with the deeper voice) from the female.

Since the owls cannot digest fur and bones, they will regurgitate a pellet – these may be found under trees where the owls perch. The ‘ears’ you see in pictures are not actual ears, but feather tufts.

Pictures below were taken by Bob Andrini in March 2020.

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