Great Horned Owls

Location: Savannah, Georgia

Camera Host: Skidaway Audubon

Find more about Weather in Savannah, GA

December 01, 2016

Squirrels Spend Time in the Savannah Nest

The Great Horned Owl nest has no birds calling it home for the time being, but that doesn't mean it's completely vacant. It seems that we may have a family of resident squirrels somewhere between the nest and the tree. They better watch out if a raptor decides to return! 

November 30, 2016

Red-Tailed Hawk Checks On Savannah Nest

A Red-tailed Hawk stopped by the Great Horned Owl Nest to give it a once over. Was it was checking on the stability of the nest, or is it more interested in the squirrels that have been seen in the tree the past week? 

November 28, 2016

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker in Savannah

Watch here as a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker defends the remaining perching branch from a Red-Bellied Woodpecker on the Savannah Great Horned Owl Cam. 

December 01, 2016

Squirrels Spend Time in the Savannah Nest

The Great Horned Owl nest has no birds calling it home for the time being, but that doesn't mean it's completely vacant. It seems that we may have a family of resident squirrels somewhere between the nest and the tree. They better watch out if a raptor decides to return! 

November 30, 2016

Red-Tailed Hawk Checks On Savannah Nest

A Red-tailed Hawk stopped by the Great Horned Owl Nest to give it a once over. Was it was checking on the stability of the nest, or is it more interested in the squirrels that have been seen in the tree the past week? 

November 28, 2016

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker in Savannah

Watch here as a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker defends the remaining perching branch from a Red-Bellied Woodpecker on the Savannah Great Horned Owl Cam. 

August 28

Perching Branch Falls on Savannah Cam

Unfortunately, the perching branch on the Great Horned Owl Savannah cam cracked and fell under the weight of two Wood Storks on Sunday, August 28. The cam is still live (with a new view) and we plan to continue broadcasting for the moment. Despite the perching branch's fate, the stump of the tree, which holds the owl nest, should remain sound for at least one more year. Click "more" for the video. More...

April 22

Owlet #2 Fledges

Owlet #2 on Savannah Owls Cam fledged around 8 PM on Friday, April 22! Both owlets have now left the nest, but they will continue to remain close to the parents and be fed by them through summer. 

April 17

Owlet #2 branched

The younger owlet branched around 6:50 PM today on the Savannah Owls Cam 

Great Horned Owl

Tree

Nest Placement

Great Horned Owls typically nest in trees such as cottonwood, juniper, beech, pine, and others. They usually adopt a nest that was built by another species, but they also use cavities in live trees, dead snags, deserted buildings, cliff ledges, and human-made platforms. In the Yukon they nest in white spruces with “witches’ brooms,” which are clumps of dense foliage caused by a fungus. They occasionally nest on the ground. Pairs may roost together near the future nest site for several months before laying eggs.

Nest Description

Nests often consist of sticks and vary widely in size, depending on which species originally built the nest (usually Red-tailed Hawks, other hawk species, crows, ravens, herons, or squirrels). Great Horned Owls may line the nest with shreds of bark, leaves, downy feathers plucked from their own breast, fur or feathers from prey, or trampled pellets. In some areas they add no lining at all. Nests deteriorate over the course of the breeding season, and are seldom reused in later years.

Clutch Size

1-4 eggs

Incubation Period

30-37 days

Nestling Period

42-42 days

Egg Description

Dull white and nearly spherical, with a rough surface.

Condition at Hatching

Helpless, with closed eyes, pink skin, and white down on upperparts.

Mammals

Food

Great Horned Owls have the most diverse diet of all North American raptors. Their prey range in size from tiny rodents and scorpions to hares, skunks, geese, and raptors. They eat mostly mammals and birds—especially rabbits, hares, mice, and American Coots, but also many other species including voles, moles, shrews, rats, gophers, chipmunks, squirrels, woodchucks, marmots, prairie dogs, bats, skunks, house cats, porcupines, ducks, loons, mergansers, grebes, rails, owls, hawks, crows, ravens, doves, and starlings. They supplement their diet with reptiles, insects, fish, invertebrates, and sometimes carrion. Although they are usually nocturnal hunters, Great Horned Owls sometimes hunt in broad daylight. After spotting their prey from a perch, they pursue it on the wing over woodland edges, meadows, wetlands, open water, or other habitats. They may walk along the ground to stalk small prey around bushes or other obstacles.

Typical Voice

Great Horned Owls advertise their territories with deep, soft hoots with a stuttering rhythm: hoo-h’HOO-hoo-hoo. The male and female of a breeding pair may perform a duet of alternating calls, with the female’s voice recognizably higher in pitch than the male’s. Young owls give piercing screams when begging for food, while adults may scream to defend the nest. Adults make an array of other sounds, including whistles, barks, shrieks, hisses, coos, and wavering cries. more sounds

See full Species Info at All About Birds

About the Savannah Owls

During the Fall of 2014, a pair of Great Horned Owls began frequenting this recently abandoned Bald Eagle nest adjacent to a protected, nutrient-rich salt marsh along the Georgia coast. The nest sits nearly 80′ above one of the six Audubon International Certified golf courses at The Landings, on Skidaway Island, near Savannah, Georgia. Over the course of the Fall, the owls courted intermittently on the nest platform, and their hoots could be heard echoing across the greens by nearby residents. Great Horned Owls do not build their own nests, relying on taking over the nests of other birds for their needs, and on the first day of the 2015, the female laid her first egg and the nest officially became “occupied”. As we approach the 2015 season, tune in and watch to see whether the owls will return to nest again for the 2016 season.

With its long, earlike tufts, intimidating yellow-eyed stare, and deep hooting voice, the Great Horned Owl is the quintessential owl of storybooks. This powerful predator can take down birds and mammals even larger than itself, but it also dines on daintier fare such as tiny scorpions, mice, and frogs. As with other raptors, the female can be distinguished from the male by her larger size; she also is the sole incubator of the eggs, relying on the male to provide her with food during incubation. It’s one of the most common owls in North America, equally at home in deserts, wetlands, forests, grasslands, backyards, cities, and almost any other semi-open habitat between the Arctic and the tropics. Learn more about them in our Species Guide.

Acknowledgements

The installation was funded by Skidaway Audubon, with approval from the Landings Club board. Essential species-specific information and support came from the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. Streaming systems vendor HDonTap installed the cameras and provided the managed live streaming service.

Support for the installation and upkeep has come from The Landings Association and The Landings Club with additional funding from Ogeechee Audubon, the Coastal Conservation Association, The Georgia Golf Course Superintendents Association, the Georgia Golf Environmental Foundation and Wild Birds Unlimited, Savannah.