Chronicle of one owl family

Started 5 months ago | Photos thread
JeffAHayes
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Re: Well I learnt something today and it is only 6.55am
In reply to Greyser, 5 months ago

Greyser wrote:

JeffAHayes wrote:

I'm with YOU, Dean. Prior to this wonderful photo series by Greyser I, too, was under the impression that ALL owls lived either in tree holes, barns, nest boxes made for them with the appropriate sized hole (usually about 3-4") OR underground, as in the case of burrowing owls. I had NO IDEA they'd use a regular nest, much less that they'd re-purpose the nest of another raptor species. I would have thought that could possibly bring down the wrath of the other raptor (not sure if the Cooper's Hawk of these owls are bigger/more powerful, though).

At any rate, these owls "stealing" this nest gave me "a thought." A few years back there was a brief series on, I think, Animal Planet, where scientists "pitted" two super-predators against one another... African lion against Asian tiger, great white shark against Australian saltwater crocodile, etc. Of course they weren't able to, nor would it have been ethical, to "arrange" real fights between these contenders, so most of the show was clips of each of the two species in its natural environment, showing all the things it could do, how powerful and dangerous it is, strengths and weaknesses, etc. Then, the last few minutes they did an animated "fight" between them to see which SHOULD win in "the ultimate battle."

I recall the winner in the great white vs. the Aussie saltie best... Although the saltie had a SIGNIFICANT advantage over the shark in shallow water, with the potential to bite it in half or beat it to pieces with a death roll, as soon as the shark got a good grip on the saltie, it was able to dive to deep water and just hold it there. Salties can hold their breath for an hour or more, in shallow water, but under that pressure for less -- especially when under attack -- so all the shark had to do was wait for the saltie to drown (at least that was what their "computer model" said).

So this set of photos -- in addition to being beautiful and inspiring -- got me to wondering IF raptors of different species ever have serious battles, and if so, how often, who's usually the victor, and what happens to the vanquished. IF this DOES happen, I'm not sure how one would go about stalking them until such a fight occurred. Of course someone could always do another "computer simulation."

Any takers?

Hi Jeff,

Let me pick it up. There are some quotes from allaboutbirds. com (Cornell University):

http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/great_horned_owl/lifehistory

  • Great Horned Owls are fierce predators that can take large prey, including raptors such as Ospreys, Peregrine Falcons, Prairie Falcons, and other owls. They also eat much smaller items such as rodents, frogs, and scorpions.
  • Great Horned Owls typically nest in trees such as cottonwood, juniper, beech, pine, and others. They usually adopt a nest that was built by another species, but they also use cavities in live trees, dead snags, deserted buildings, cliff ledges, and human-made platforms. Nests often consist of sticks and vary widely in size, depending on which species originally built the nest (usually Red-tailed Hawks, other hawk species, crows, ravens, herons, or squirrels). Great Horned Owls may line the nest with shreds of bark, leaves, downy feathers plucked from their own breast, fur or feathers from prey, or trampled pellets. In some areas they add no lining at all. Nests deteriorate over the course of the breeding season, and are seldom reused in later years.

I hope that I have answered some of your questions,

Regards,

SG

Thanks for the info, Greyser, and also for the head's up to let me know you posted it... Sometimes I'll post in a thread and not get back to it, or at least not for a long time. I had no idea great horned owls were so fierce, nor that they would eat other raptors, including owls... From dog eat dog to owl eat owl, huh? 

Jeff

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A word is worth 1/1000th of a picture... Maybe that's why I use so many words!

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