Great Horned Owl in the wild

Great Horned Owl in the wildIn early November, several members of the Central Ohio chapter of the Ohio Young Birders Club met in Powell to walk through a woodlot and look for resident Great Horned Owls. By the long light of early evening, we walked on the leaf covered paths through an18 acre woodlot, softly talking while looking for signs of the “tigers of the night”. Suddenly, to our right and swooping low, we saw and excitedly pointed out a flying (retreating) large owl. Off we went in pursuit of a better look, and soon we were rewarded with looks that brought oohh’s and aahh’s.

Emily and Clare meet owl acquaintancesAs we left the woods and looked back, up in a tree along the woods edge sat a female Great Horned Owl. Claire and Emily were so excited, as were the adults who were staring up at this amazing creature sitting in plain view. She was staring back at us! Something made Claire look down and, to her amazement, she found an owl pellet. She and Emily started to take apart the pellet carefully, looking for bones and — they hoped — a rodent skull. Sure enough, there was a skull all snuggly encased in mouse fur. (The pellet is what the owl can’t digest and it is regurgitated or coughed up.) What a treat to find one of their pellets! Claire wanted to go in search of more, but by now it was too dark.

Gerry dons her owl costume Next we had fun learning more about owl biology as we dressed up our advisor, Gerry Brevoort, in full owl costume. We also had a visit from two education raptors from the Ohio Wildlife Center. Alex, a male Great Horned Owl, and Ari, a female Eastern Screech Owl, posed for photos to finish an exciting program. As Alex sat on my glove, a male Eastern Bluebird dove over his head with a verbal rampage asking him to please leave — and soon we left as well, as Graeter’s was beckoning us to come celebrate a fun evening in style with ice cream! What a great evening with the nighttime hunters.

Check out the Powell Owl Prowl photo album, too.