Great horned owls will be nesting soon – and yes, this is early compared to many other species! This species normally commences courtship and breeding before any other species of bird in Ohio. Males will begin hooting in mid-to-late fall, and eggs are often laid by the end of January. The owls’ insulating down is extremely efficient and able to warm the eggs to about 98 degrees, even when temperatures plummet to below zero Fahrenheit. Incubation lasts about a month, strictly by the female, and the young typically hatch in late February or March. Within six weeks, the young owls are active and able to climb about, at which point they may scramble onto limbs away from the nest. Forty-five to fifty days after hatching, they are capable of flight.
Learn more in our Owls of Ohio Field Guide: http://ow.ly/xYdM3059KQF