Great Horned Owl – Darwin

Name: Darwin – Male

Species: Great Horned Owl

Liberty Arrival: April 22, 2010/Fledgling

Injury/Condition: Wing fracture

Darwin’s rescuer found him as a fledgling on the ground in Scottsdale. He had an obvious wing injury. The Liberty medical team determined from the X-rays that he had a fracture at his elbow on his right wing, causing the wing to droop noticeably. Flight tests determined that he fatigued quickly and would be unable to be a successful hunter. He was non-releasable.

Great Horned Owl Facts

The great horned owl is found in North and South America from northern Alaska and Canada through Mexico to the tropical rainforest to Tierra del Fuego. It is one of the most widespread and common owls in North America.

Life span: Great horned owls can live more than 12 years in the wild.  Some captive birds have lived up to 29 years.

Prey: The owl’s diet consists of a wide variety of prey from raccoons, rabbits, squirrels, mice, snakes, insects, geese and other birds to the occasional cat or small dog. One of its favorite foods is the skunk, a slow-moving nocturnal animal with a large white stripe down its back like a neon sign that says to the owl, “Eat me!”.

Babies/Nests: Great horned owls do not build nests and either take over the abandoned nest of a hawk or other large birds or will simply lay the eggs in alcoves, tree hollows, abandoned buildings or even on the ground.  The female will lay 2 – 3 eggs on average and the young fledge in 45 – 55 days.