Jasper – Eurasian Eagle Owl
Hatched: April 10, 1994
Jasper hatched April 10, 1994 at World Bird Sanctuary. He flew for presentations at Busch Gardens Williamsburg, VA and Sea World of Ohio before developing foot problems in 2001. After treatment and surgery, he was retired to the World Bird Sanctuary display area where he has lived since 2002.
He has always greeted staff and visitors alike with his friendly and enthusiastic WOO-OO call that lets us know he is undoubtedly a male eagle owl. He is definitely a favorite and, as far as Eagle owls go, he’s a kind soul!
Species: Eurasian Eagle Owl
Scientific Name: Bubo bubo
Description: similar to the great horned owl, but much larger; prominent ear tufts are usually laid back; streaked breast, mottled brownish feathers; some have orangish-brown feathers on the face, underparts, wings, and back; orange-yellow or deep fiery orange eyes; adults and juveniles similar in appearance
Sex: coloration the same for both sexes; females larger than males; call of the female is slightly higher pitched than the male’s
Age: once past first year, can live up to 20 years in the wild and 60 years in captivity
Weight: 3.5-9 lbs.
Habitat: rocky outcrops and coniferous forests; hunt in open plains areas; warm deserts; can be found in taiga, farmlands, steppes, semi-arid areas, grasslands
Status: never common; can be considered rare and locally endangered; have been shot and trapped extensively; affected by deforestation
Range: northern Europe through Asia and into northern Africa
Behavior: nests are shallow depressions scratched out on rock ledges or in caves; lay 1-4 eggs at 3-day intervals from the end of February to the end of April, depending on food supply; the female does the majority of the incubating for 31-36 days, while the male hunts; the chicks fledge at 7-8 weeks, but are cared for by the parents for 20-24 weeks; if the nest is on the ground they may fledge earlier; swoop down on prey when hunting; can catch prey from the air or the ground, or may be seen plunging into water
Diet: medium sized mammals and birds, like opossums, hares, foxes, ducks, quail, and pheasant; also eat insects and small rodents; roe deer fawns; coastal residents may feed mainly on ducks and seabirds
Vocalization: long, booming “oo-hoooh;” females sometimes make a coarse “kraah” sound during mating season; chicks make the “kraah” sound as well; when threatened they may bark and growl
- Eurasian Eagle Owl’s orange eyes indicate that they are active around dawn and dusk, which is known as being crepuscular
- One of the largest owl species in the world
- During 1900s, populations declined drastically due to indiscriminate shooting and poisoning. Status now least concern as governments have begun to increase protection and reintroduction programs
- Silent nocturnal hunters that use their keen eyesight and hearing to locate and capture prey