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The Daily Bucket is a place where we post and exchange our observations about what is happening in the natural world in our neighborhood. Each note about the bugs, buds, and birds around us is a record that we can refer to in the future as we try to understand the patterns of nature that are quietly unwinding around us.
Gooseville, WI

The raucous screaming scolds of the neighborhood crows went on and off all morning echoing back and forth through the river valley. It's quiet now. Silence. A blessing.

I don't know how long he had been sitting there in the backyard, perched in the low slant of the November midday sun. He looked sleepy with eyes half closed. It was chilly, but he looked warm and comfortable in his fluff of puffed up feathers.

Great Horned Owl
Great Horned Owl Bubo virginianus

I've been hearing the loud low-pitched who-who-whoo whoo whoo calls from the woods for a few months now. This large nocturnal hunter will soon be pairing up.

Great Horned Owls don't build or repair their own nests, instead they use whatever large stick structure, tree hollow or snag in the territorial area. They seem to prefer Red-tailed Hawk nests around here.

In late January or early February the female lays one to four eggs and broods them by herself. The male hunts and brings all the food during this period.

It's interesting to note that Great Horned Owls were not given full protection in Wisconsin until 1970, well after all other species of raptors were protected from hunters.

Great Horned Owl

He hung out for another hour or so, allowing me to enjoy his presence. No wonder I didn't have a rabbit problem in the garden this summer.

What's happening in your neighborhood or backyard lately? Got owls? All are welcome here. Feel free to drop a note in the bucket.

Originally posted to Backyard Science on Fri Nov 09, 2012 at 09:05 AM PST.

Also republished by Birds and Birdwatching and Badger State Progressive.

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