Great Horned Owl – Hedwig

Name: Hedwig – Female

Species: Great Horned Owl

Liberty Arrival: 2001/Adult

Injury/Condition: Imprinted

Hedwig was found at a park in Queen Creek in 2001. It was obvious from her behavior of seeking food from people that she was an imprint who had escaped or been released. She was taken from the park by a kindhearted man who did not know much about birds of prey. He placed her in with his chickens until he discovered that great horned owls eat chickens!  Following his call to Liberty Wildlife, Hedy, as she is affectionately called, was transported to Liberty. As an imprint, Hedy cannot be released because she will continue to seek out humans to feed her and she will not interact with her own species.

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.