I know of a couple of owl nests in New Mexico, in the bosque along the north side of the Rio Grande River, on the edge of an Albuquerque suburb, known as Corrales. There is much wildlife here along the Rio Grande, living and roaming in the bosque. A bosque is a type of gallery forest habitat found along the riparian flood plains of stream and riverbanks in the southwestern United States. Bosque means “woods” or “forest” in Spanish. Its riparian forests provide an oasis of valuable resources for animals and plants. While a bosque can be most any type of tree that does well in this kind of moist and rich soil, this bosque is made up primarily of Freemont's Cottonwood tree. The Fremont Cottonwood is a cottonwood native to North America, growing in riparian areas near streams, rivers, and wetlands in the southwestern part of the United States, and downwards into Mexico. It is a large tree that provides a shady and beautiful canopy. In Arizona, we have this same type of bosque along the Verde River near Cottonwood, AZ...named after this same tree. This is rich terrain for both red-tailed hawk and great horned owl to nest and hunt, although those two are arch enemies, and often the hawk will lose in a confrontation with the owl, his pride if not his life. Great Horned owls are nicknamed "The Winged Tiger", which they have rightfully earned, and just about anything will serve as dinner, both mammal or other bird.
Anyway, I spent 3 days in the Spring working those nests. The main nest was in the hollow of a very large branch of cottonwood tree that was cut off long ago, and inside the truck of that branch was a nest of three owlets. During the daytime they were not very active as you can imagine, but in the late afternoon and early morning they were a fairly active, and so were the parents. The most interesting behavior I will share with you is that like many bird nests, there are boundaries to which the male should not cross. Mother would only occasionally go down to the owlets, mostly at feeding time, otherwise hidden well up in the tree's canopy watching. Both male and female would go out and hunt, but the male is bringing home most of the bacon. When he does, he will land with his carrion on another tree about 50 yards away. He would pick at eat at some of it, leaving the rest, or else just bring it and leave it there. Mother would then come to the tree to get the meal and then bring it back to tear apart for her young.
Keywords:great, horned, owl, owls
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