Jake – Great Horned Owl
Jake arrived at the World Bird Sanctuary as an orphaned chick in early spring 1998. He was at the developmental stage known as a “brancher.” He was hand raised by our staff to make him comfortable around people. Jake quickly became a favorite at our programs at Sea World of Ohio. Jake now travels with our staff and is part of a team that presented over 1000 programs to over 500,000 people during the past year!
As with many birds of prey, we aren’t exactly sure what gender Jake is, but given his small size (male raptors are smaller than the females), we are assuming he is male. He eats a diet of rat meat, chicken, rabbit, mice and quail — all things that mimic an owl’s natural diet.
Species: Great Horned Owl
Latin Name: Bubo virginianus
Description: largest owl native to North America; adults have large ear tufts which are not actually ears, but large tufts of feathers; face is reddish, brown or gray with a white patch on the throat; iris is yellow; underparts are light with brown barring; upper parts are mottled brown; legs and feet are feathered up to the talons; owls have binocular vision and the ability to turn their heads a full 270 degrees; an owl’s hearing is as good as, if not better, than its vision; owls have stereo hearing which allows them to triangulate the location of prey
Sex: females larger than males
Age: 5-20 years in the wild once past the critical first year
Wingspan: up to 5′
Weight: 2.5 lbs.
Habitat: wide variety of wooded habitat; forests, swamps, deserts, rocky areas, farmland and urban areas from sea level to 12,000 feet
Status: listed as “Least Concern”
Range: throughout most of North and South America
Behavior: hunts at dusk and during the night from a perch, while flying low over the ground, walking on the ground, or wading into water; among the earliest-breeding birds in North America; territories are claimed in the fall, and breeding takes place in January or early February; nesting is done in other birds’ stick nests, natural tree hollows, man-made platforms, or on cliff ledges or cave entrances; female lays 1-3 eggs and incubates for 26-35 days; young birds start to wander away from the nest in 6-7 weeks at which point they are called “branchers”; they are fully flighted at 10-12 weeks; fledglings are tended by the parents for up to 5 months; maturity is reached at 2 years
Diet: wide variety of small to medium mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles, fish insects, and occasionally carrion if other food is scarce; one of the few animals known to prey on skunks
Vocalization: low pitched, loud, monotone “ho-ho-hoo hoo hoo;” females call is higher pitched