Urban Animals: Great Horned Owls

PHOTO: Flikr Creative Commons/veesees
Great Horned Owls are the most common owl of North and South America. PHOTO: Flickr/veesees

By Kid Reporter GEORGIA REED-STAMM, age 9

Great horned owls are one of the biggest and most powerful owls, and were recently seen trying to nest and mate in New York City for the first time in 100 years.

The owls need to nest in peaceful and quiet areas. Unfortunately, picture taking tourists and barking dogs have managed to scare off the owls, making their chance of successful nesting and mating smaller and smaller.

However, bird watchers think this year could be the year for the great horned owl.  According to The New York Times, one of New York’s greatest bird watchers, Bob DeCandido (aka “Birding Bob”), and other bird watchers are hoping that these owls are the 21st century owl version of Pale Male: the pioneer red-tailed hawk who was first spotted nesting in Manhattan’s Central Park in 1991. Ever since, pairs of red-tailed hawks and their speckled eggs have been seen in all five boroughs of New York City.

“Owls do something to people…,” Birding Bob told The New York Times. “…People are fascinated with them.”


  • Great horned owls are strong enough to lift prey two to three times their size!
  • Great horned owls have bigger ear tufts than any other owl. The feathers look like horns but they aren’t. That’s why they are named great horned owls.

Check out this IndyKids article from May 2011, “Urban Animals: Red-Tailed Hawks

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