Snooze All Day, Hoot All Night – Great Horned Owls

There has been a Great Horned Owl (or maybe owls, plural) in our Arizona yard for several weeks now. It (or they) have been hooting almost every night. Sometimes one sits on the top of the chimney – then they sound like they are in the house!

Several days ago I heard a few short hoots as I was sitting on my back deck. I traced the sound to the large old Willow Acacia tree. Initially the owls eyes were closed, but as I slowly circled one side of the tree to take some photos, the owls eyes opened – then closed again. Maybe it was responding to the crunching noise I was making on the gravel that is our yard, or maybe it was looking at the hummingbirds that were pestering it.

At night, we often hear an owl in front of our house too, so yesterday I inspected our Palm Tree more carefully. To the naked eye, it was hard to tell whether an owl was nestled in a notch made by the stumps of palm fronds. I had no problem seeing the owl once I had my camera with the zoom lens!

I’m hopeful that this is a nest! If so, we should be here in Arizona long enough to see the owlets. If that is the case, then our ‘once in a lifetime’ chance to watch baby horned owls grow up will be a ‘twice in a lifetime’ event! (My Alberta Great Horned Owl is at Owl Family.)

They will usually start their nesting behavior around late December to early January in Arizona…Their clutch size will range anywhere from 1-6 eggs… incubation period of about 28 – 35 days… The hatching of the eggs will typically happen in mid to late February through March. Both parents will bring the young owlets food in the nest, and both parents will tend to the young for the first several months of life.
Arizona Game and Fish