An owl with horns? Could it be so? Of course not! The Great “Horned” Owl is named for its large, conspicuous ear tufts, which resemble horns perched atop its head. Many people recognize and identify this owl by this noticeable characteristic. In fact, this is perhaps North America’s most well-known and recognizable owl. The Great Horned Owl is your classic owl. Perhaps it should be called the movie star owl, for if you’ve ever heard an owl hoot in the movies, it was most likely the Great Horned. In fact, if you’ve ever heard an owl hoot in your neighborhood, it was probably a Great Horned Owl, too. These big, powerful owls give the quintessential hoot: “Hooo-hoo-hoo-hooo.” And unlike many other owl species, these vocal birds can be heard hooting year-round and in a wide variety of habitats from forests to farmland to city parks and neighborhoods. If you hear the hoot, look up and see if you can spot the “great horns” of the Great Horned Owl.
Maps provided by The Birds of North America Online and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.