GREAT HORNED OWL: Bubo Virginianus
The Great Horned Owl is the most aggressive North American owl. It is the most powerful and among the largest of all owls, and is sometimes called the “Tiger of the Skies.” It posseses keen night vision, but primarily uses very acute hearing to detect prey. The Great Horned Owl measures roughly 50 centimeters (20 inches) in length. It has large, staring yellow-orange eyes, bordered by an orange-buff facial disc. The plumage is beautifully marked and patterned with grays and browns. The Great Horned Owl’s greatest predator is man.
Sollie (Queen Solomon) fell from her nest during the winter of 1997. She was found on the ground by a 90-year-old lady who watched the baby owl fall. Unfortunately, Sollie was not put back in her nest but was kept in captivity during the critical period of time when she identified with her caregiver, in this case, a human being. She became irreversibly imprinted on human beings. This means that she does not know the ways of an owl, but is more comfortable with people. When she arrived at Wind Over Wings, we hoped that she was not imprinted, so we placed her in an aviary with Webster, a Great Horned Owl from Alaska. But, Sollie was far more interested in people than in Webster. During her years with Wind Over Wings she has served as a surrogate mother for many orphaned Great Horned Owlets who were successfully released back to the woods. She is a wonderful member of our educational faculty.