Ian’s Bird of the Moment – Great Horned and Ferruginous Pygmy Owls

There weren’t any owls on our must-see lists for Brazil and Chile because we weren’t particularly expecting to see any. However, we ended up seeing two species at opposite ends of the size scale: the largest Brazilian owl, Great Horned Owl, and one of the smallest, the Ferruginous Pygmy Owl.

The Great Horned Owl – splendidly named the Grand-duc d’Amérique in French – is seriously big, with females, larger than males, being up to 60cm/24in in length, 1.5kg/53oz in weight, with a wing span of up to 1.5m/5ft. The Ferruginous Pygmy Owl, by comparison tiny with the (smaller) males being as short as 15cm/6in, as light as 46g/1.6oz with an average wing span of 38cm/15in.

STI-Strg Great Horned Owl by Ian

Great Horned Owls feed mainly on mammals but are versatile and will take birds from small passerines up to geese and Great Blue Herons. Ferruginous Pygmy Owls are also versatile, make up for their small size by being quite aggressive and taking anything from insects to birds much bigger than themselves.

STI-Strg Ferruginous Pygmy Owl (Glaucidium brasilianum) by Ian

Their versatile diets mean both species are very adaptable and have huge ranges in the Americas. The range of the Great Horned Owl extends from Alaska and northern Canada through Central and South America as far as northern Argentina, though it sizes restricts it to hunting in open areas and it avoids rainforests such as the Amazon Basin.

The Ferruginous Pygmy Owl ranges from southern Arizona through Central America and most of South America east of the Andes (including the Amazon Basin), also as far as northern Argentina. Both incidentally illustrate the taxonomic folly of using geographical areas in names, the specific name of one referring to the American state of Virginia, and the other to Brazil.

PEL-Pele Peruvian Pelican (Pelecanus thagus) by Ian

You probably know by now that I’m attracted to symbols, hence the owls. I couldn’t resist using avian symbols of wisdom as we celebrate the beginning of a new year and a new decade. The last decade seems to have been singularly lacking in wisdom in politics and leadership, and I hope for better in the twenties. At the same time we need to be optimistic and not lose our sense of fun, so I’m sharing the experience Trish and I enjoyed of watching Peruvian Pelicans on the coast of Chile – another lesson in names – apparently enjoying skimming over the waves in the late afternoon.

On the subject of wisdom, I read an article on the (Australian) ABC website today on whether the decade actually starts on the first of January 2020 or 2021. At the start of the millennium I was one of the pedants who felt it started in 2001, but I’ve shifted my ground. I like this quote from a comment on the article by Professor Hans Noel:

“Knowledge is knowing that there was no year 0 so technically the new decade begins Jan 1 2021, not 2020.

“Wisdom is knowing that we started this system in the middle, it’s socially constructed anyway, and it feels right to treat ‘1 to 10’ as a decade, so that’s what we do.”

The ABC Language researcher Tiger Webb had the final word:

“What’s often missing from this discussion is that all calendrical systems are abstractions of human arrogance in the face of an indifferent universe.”

So have a wisdom- and fun-filled 2020 and decade!


Lee’s Addition:

Well, now there is an interesting take on this new year.

I do know that according to the Bible, there was a year zero (0):

“For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.”
(Exodus 20:11 KJV)

That was when TIME as we know it began.

“Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that.” (James 4:13-15 KJV)

Like Ian, Happy New Year.

Ian’s Bird of the Week – Moments

Avian and Attributes – Omnipotent

Great Horned Owl by Phil Kwong Galleries

Great Horned Owl by Phil Kwong Galleries

“And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.” (Revelation 19:6 KJV)

Avian and Attributes – Omnipotent

OMNIP’OTENT, a. [supra.]

1. Almighty; possessing unlimited power; all powerful. The being that can create worlds must be omnipotent.

2. Having unlimited power of a particular kind; as omnipotent love.

Great Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus) by Bob-Nan

Great Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus) by Bob-Nan

Great Horned Owl

The Great Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus), also known as the tiger owl (originally derived from early naturalists’ description as the “winged tiger” or “tiger of the air”) or the hoot owl, is a large owl native to the Americas. It is an extremely adaptable bird with a vast range and is the most widely distributed true owl in the Americas. The great horned owl is one of the earliest nesting birds in North America, often laying eggs weeks or even months before other raptorial birds.

All great horned owls have a facial disc. This can be reddish, brown or gray in color (depending on geographical and racial variation) and is demarked by a dark rim culminating in bold, blackish side brackets. This species’ “horns” are tufts of feathers, called plumicorns. The purpose of plumicorns is not fully understood, but the theory that they serve as a visual cue in territorial and socio-sexual interactions with other owls is generally accepted.

More Avian and Attributes

Birds whose last name start with “O”

Birds of the Bible – Owls

Good News

[Definitions from Webster’s Dictionary of American English (1828), unless noted. Bird info from Wikipedia plus.]

Lee’s Four Word Thursday – 2/23/17


Great Horned Owl Youngsters at Circle B Bar Reserve by Lee



“There shall the great owl make her nest, and lay, and hatch, and gather under her shadow: there shall the vultures also be gathered, every one with her mate.” (Isaiah 34:15 KJV)

Great Horned Owl Youngsters at Circle B Bar Reserve by Lee


More Daily Devotionals


Great Horned Owl Youngsters

Great Horned Owl Youngsters at Circle B Bar Reserve by Lee

Great Horned Owl Youngsters at Circle B Bar Reserve by Lee

“And the little owl, and the cormorant, and the great owl,” (Leviticus 11:17 KJV)

This afternoon we were able to go to the Circle B Bar Reserve and watch the latest talk of the birders. Yesterday, our birding friends at church told us about these two youngsters that were stealing all the attention at the park.

It was easy to find the area, because it is roped off to keep everyone at a safe distance from the youngsters. An array of onlookers with binoculars and lots of cameras were watching and waiting for the youngsters to wake up from their naps.

Great Horned Owl Youngsters at Circle B Bar Reserve by Lee

Great Horned Owl Youngsters at Circle B Bar Reserve by Lee

Finally, a fuzzy ball appeared, and then a head popped up. Eventually, two heads were visible.

Notice how their Creator gave them just the right kind of feathers to blend in with their surroundings. Another example of the Lord’s Care for His creation.

Great Horned Owl Youngsters at Circle B Bar Reserve by Lee

Trust you will enjoy these glimpses of them. It was hard trying to catch a decent photo because they were quite a way from us. Trying to hold a zoomed in, hand-held, camera in “program mode” is a challenge. But, I am so thankful for the Lord allowing us to see some of his wonderfully created Great Horn Owl youngsters. These were my first GHO youngsters seen in the wild.

Great Horned Owl Youngsters at Circle B Bar Reserve by Lee

Do You See Them

Great Horned Owl Youngsters at Circle B Bar Reserve by Lee

Let Me Zoo In Some More. .. Do You See Them Now?

Great Horned Owl Youngsters at Circle B Bar Reserve by Lee

Zoomed In More…Do You See Them Now!

Here is a slide show of the photos in fairly decent order of how they were taken.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I was able to shoot some video, but again, it’s a little shaky. Enjoy.


Birds of the Bible – Owls

Strigidae – Owls

Circle B Bar Reserve

Wordless Birds


Live Cams from All About Birds

Great Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus) by Bob-Nan

Great Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus) by Bob-Nan

The little owl, and the great owl, and the swan, (Deuteronomy 14:16 KJV)

There shall the great owl make her nest, and lay, and hatch, and gather under her shadow: there shall the vultures also be gathered, every one with her mate. (Isaiah 34:15 KJV)

Are you aware of the Live Cameras that All About Birds are sharing? They are very interesting to watch. The latest that was shared with me is a Great Horned Owl nest Cam in Savannah, GA.

Take a look”

Here is a link that shows more about the Great Horned Owls there.


How about some Laysan Albatross nest in Hawaii?

Here is there link for the Albatross.


Aren’t these amazing? It is alway great to watch the Lord’s amazing creations, but to get to see them at the nest or at feeders is neat with today’s technology.

If you would like to see all the current Cams from All About Birds click this link. Not all the camera are operating all the time, but this page will help you find the live one as the current time.



Birds of the Bible – Owls

Strigidae – Owls

Diomedeidae – Albatrosses Family



Birds Vol 1 #3 – The Long-Eared Owl

Great Horned Owl - Birds Illustrated by Color Photography

Great Horned Owl – Birds Illustrated by Color Photography

Birds Illustrated by Color Photography – Revisited

Vol 1. March, 1897 No. 3




HE name of the Long-Eared Owl is derived from the great length of his “ears” or feather-tufts, which are placed upon the head, and erect themselves whenever the bird is interested or excited. It is the “black sheep” of the owl family, the majority of owls being genuine friends of the agriculturist, catching for his larder so many of the small animals that prey upon his crops. In America he is called the Great Horned Owl—in Europe the Golden Owl. (Today it is the Eurasian Eagle-Owl, I believe.)

Nesting time with the owl begins in February, and continues through March and April. The clown-like antics of both sexes of this bird while under the tender influence of the nesting season tend somewhat to impair their reputation for dignity and wise demeanor. They usually have a simple nest in a hollow tree, but which seems seldom to be built by the bird itself, as it prefers to take the deserted nest of some other bird, and to fit up the premises for its own use. They repair slightly from year to year the same nest. The eggs are white, and generally four or five in number. While the young are still in the nest, the parent birds display a singular diligence in collecting food for them.

If you should happen to know of an owl’s nest, stand near it some evening when the old birds are rearing their young. Keep quiet and motionless, and notice how frequently the old birds feed them. Every ten minutes or so the soft flap, flap of their wings will be heard, the male and female alternately, and you will obtain a brief glimpse of them through the gloom as they enter the nesting place. They remain inside but a short time, sharing the food equally amongst their brood, and then are off again to hunt for more. All night, were you to have the inclination to observe them, you would find they pass to and fro with food, only ceasing their labors at dawn. The young, as soon as they reach maturity, are abandoned by their parents; they quit the nest and seek out haunts elsewhere, while the old birds rear another, and not infrequently two more broods, during the remainder of the season.

The habits of the Long-Eared Owl are nocturnal. He is seldom seen in the light of day, and is greatly disturbed if he chance to issue from his concealment while the sun is above the horizon. The facial disk is very conspicuous in this species. It is said that the use of this circle is to collect the rays of light, and throw them upon the eye. The flight of the owl is softened by means of especially shaped, recurved feather-tips, so that he may noiselessly steal upon his prey, and the ear is also so shaped as to gather sounds from below.

The Long-Eared Owl is hardly tameable. The writer of this paragraph, when a boy, was the possessor, for more than a year, of a very fine specimen. We called him Judge. He was a monster, and of perfect plumage. Although he seemed to have some attachment to the children of the family who fed him, he would not permit himself to be handled by them or by any one in the slightest. Most of his time he spent in his cage, an immense affair, in which he was very comfortable. Occasionally he had a day in the barn with the rats and mice.

The owl is of great usefulness to gardener, agriculturist, and landowner alike, for there is not another bird of prey which is so great a destroyer of the enemies of vegetation.

Great Horned Owl LPZoo by Lee


We know not alway
Who are kings by day,
But the king of the night is the bold brown owl!

I wonder why the folks put my picture last in the book. It can’t be because they don’t like me, for I’m sure I never bother them. I don’t eat the farmer’s corn like the crow, and no one ever saw me quarrel with other birds.

Maybe it is because I can’t sing. Well, there are lots of good people that can’t sing, and so there are lots of good birds that can’t sing.

Did you ever see any other bird sit up as straight as I do? I couldn’t sit up so straight if I hadn’t such long, sharp claws to hold on with.

My home is in the woods. Here we owls build our nests—most always in hollow trees.

During the day I stay in the nest or sit on a limb. I don’t like day time for the light hurts my eyes, but when it begins to grow dark then I like to stir around. All night long I am wide awake and fly about getting food for my little hungry ones. They sleep most of the day and it keeps me busy nearly all night to find them enough to eat.

I just finished my night’s work when the man came to take my picture. It was getting light and I told him to go to a large stump on the edge of the woods and I would sit for my picture. So here I am. Don’t you think I look wise? How do you like my large eyes? If I could smile at you I would, but my face always looks sober. I have a great many cousins and if you really like my picture, I’ll have some of them talk to you next month. I don’t think any of them have such pretty feathers though. Just see if they have when they come.

Well, I must fly back to my perch in the old elm tree. Good-bye.

Great Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus) chicks - WikiC

Great Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus) chicks – WikiC


In the hollow tree, in the old gray tower,
The spectral owl doth dwell;
Dull, hated, despised in the sunshine hour,
But at dusk he’s abroad and well!
Not a bird of the forest e’er mates with him;
All mock him outright by day;
But at night, when the woods grow still and dim,
The boldest will shrink away!

O! when the night falls, and roosts the fowl,
Then, then, is the reign of the Horned Owl!

And the owl hath a bride, who is fond and bold,
And loveth the wood’s deep gloom;
And, with eyes like the shine of the moonstone cold,
She awaiteth her ghastly groom.
Not a feather she moves, not a carol she sings,
As she waits in her tree so still,
But when her heart heareth his flapping wings,
She hoots out her welcome shrill!

O! when the moon shines, and dogs do howl,
Then, then, is the joy of the Horned Owl!

Mourn not for the owl, nor his gloomy plight!
The owl hath his share of good—
If a prisoner he be in the broad daylight,
He is lord in the dark greenwood!
Nor lonely the bird, nor his ghastly mate,
They are each unto each a pride;
Thrice fonder, perhaps, since a strange, dark fate
Hath rent them from all beside!

So, when the night falls, and dogs do howl,
Sing, Ho! for the reign of the Horned Owl!
We know not alway
Who are kings by day,
But the King of the Night is the bold Brown Owl!

Bryan W. Procter
(Barry Cornwall.)

Great Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus) by Bob-Nan

Great Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus) by Bob-Nan

Lee’s Addition:

Our Owl friend is a Bird of the Bible also. Owls are mentioned in 8 to 9 verses in Scripture, depending on which version. The KJV has 8 “owl” and 1 “owls” mentioned. The “horned owl” is mentioned in several versions. They are also one of the Birds of Prey mentioned in the Bible.

The little owl, the great owl, the horned owl, (Deuteronomy 14:16 AMP)

The Owls belong to two families, the  Strigidae – Owl which has the “True Owls” and the  Tytonidae – Barn Owls. The two families make up the Strigiformes Order.

The Great Horned Owls range in length from 18–27 in (46–69 cm) and have a wingspan of 40–60.5 in (101–153 cm); Females are larger than males, an average adult being 22 in (55 cm) long with a 49 in (124 cm) wingspan and weighing about 3.1 lbs (1400 g). Depending on subspecies, Great Horned Owls can weigh from 0.72 to 2.55 kg (1.6 to 5.6 lb). At present there are 14 subspecies.

Adults have large ear tufts, a reddish, brown or gray face and a white patch on the throat. The iris is yellow, except the amber-eyed South American Great Horned Owl (B. V. nacurutu). Its “horns” are neither ears nor horns, simply tufts of feathers. The underparts are light with brown barring; the upper parts are mottled brown. The legs and feet are covered in feathers up to the talons. There are individual and regional variations in color; birds from the sub-Arctic are a washed-out, light-buff color, while those from Central America can be a dark chocolate brown.

Their call is a low-pitched but loud ho-ho-hoo hoo hoo; sometimes it is only four syllables instead of five. The female’s call is higher and rises in pitch at the end of the call. Young owls make hissing or screeching sounds that are often confused with the calls of Barn Owls.

Great Horned Owl call by Jesse Fagan

Owls were given spectacular binocular vision allowing them to pinpoint prey and see in low light. The eyes of Great Horned Owls are nearly as large as those of humans and are immobile within their circular bone sockets. Instead of turning their eyes, they turn their heads. Therefore, their neck must be able to turn a full 270 degrees in order to see in other directions without moving its entire body.

An owl’s hearing is as good as – if not better than – its vision; they have better depth perception[citation needed] and better perception of sound elevation (up-down direction) than humans. This is due to owl ears not being placed in the same position on either side of their head: the right ear is typically set higher in the skull and at a slightly different angle. By tilting or turning its head until the sound is the same in each ear, an owl can pinpoint both the horizontal and vertical direction of a sound.

Closeup of Great Horned Owl toes and talons

Great Horned Owl Foot LPZoo by Lee

These birds hunt at night by waiting on a high perch and swooping down on prey. Prey can vary greatly based on opportunity. The predominant prey group are small to medium-sized mammals such as hares, rabbits (statistically the most regular prey, juvenile raccoons, rats, squirrels, mice, moles, voles, shrews, bats, armadillos, muskrats, weasels and gerbils. It is even a natural predator of prey two to three times heavier than itself such as porcupines, marmots and skunks. Birds also comprise a large portion of a Great Horned Owl’s diet, ranging in size from kinglets to Great Blue Herons. Waterbirds, especially coots and ducks, are hunted; even raptors, up to the size of Red-tailed Hawk and Snowy Owls, are sometimes taken. Regular avian prey includes woodpeckers, grouse, crows, pigeons, herons, gulls, quail, turkey and various passerines. Reptiles (to the size of young American alligators, amphibians, fish, crustaceans and even insects are only occasional prey. In addition, the Great Horned Owl will predate on domesticated cats and small or young dogs.

When the Lord has created these birds Hi also gave them 200–300 pounds per square inch of crushing power in their talons. An average adult human male has about 60 pounds per square inch in his hands. In northern regions, where larger prey that cannot be eaten quickly are most prevalent, they may let uneaten food freeze and then thaw it out later using their own body heat. They also tend to eat and regurgitate food in the same locations.

The article is titled the Long-eared Owl. Actually there really is a Long-eared Owl.

Long-eared Owl (Asio otus) by Daves BirdingPix

Long-eared Owl (Asio otus) by Daves BirdingPix

Birds Illustrated by Color Photograhy Vol 1 March 1897 No 3 - Cover

Birds Illustrated by Color Photography – Revisited – Introduction

The above article is the first article in the monthly serial for February 1897 “designed to promote Knowledge of Bird-Live.” These include Color Photography, as they call them, today they are drawings. There are at least three Volumes that have been digitized by Project Gutenberg.

To see the whole series of – Birds Illustrated by Color Photography – Revisited


(Information from Wikipedia and other internet sources)

Next Article – The Rose-Breasted Grosbeak

Previous Article – The Meadow Lark

Sharing The Gospel


Birds of the Bible – Owls

Great Horned Owls – Wikipedia

Long-eared Owls – Wikipedia

Eurasian Eagle-Owl – Wikipedia


I Don’t Show Off – The Great Horned Owl

I Don’t Show Off – The Great Horned Owl – by a j mithra

Great Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus) by Ray

Great Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus) by Ray

Great Horned owls can fly silently because the ends of their flight feathers don’t have barbules, those tiny hooks that most all other bird feathers have. When birds fly, the rubbing barbules is what makes the noise…

If GOD has not created these owls to fly silent, it would’ve turned into a prey instead of being a predator..

It doesn’t show-off its presence..

Please read through Isaiah chapter 39, you will see how King Hezekiah showed every treasure he had to the king of Babylon and how it brought curse over his family…

Talents and treasures from GOD
are not to show off but to glorify HIM…

On the faces of Great Horned owls and most other owls there are very short feather in a rounded pattern that form a facial disk. This facial dish acts like a satellite dish, receiving sounds and funneling them to the ears, which are hidden beneath feathers on the sides of the skull…

Its one ear is slightly higher and positioned at a slightly different angle on the head
than the other, it is able to use a kind of “sound triangulation” process to judge the location of its prey with amazing accuracy…

These owls can hear even the slightest movement of its prey within leaves or undergrowth or even in snow…
Such is its hearing ability..

Most of us tend to grumble about prayers unanswered..
We say that GOD doesn’t talk to us..
What sort of prayer time do we have?
Do we take time to be silent in HIS presence?

If these birds didn’t maintain silence, they may have to starve to death..

Most of us are spiritually starved cos, we go with a shopping list to the presence of GOD, instead of taking orders from the LORD..

Unless we learn to be still, we will never know our LORD..

Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth. (Psalm 46:10)

Note: Thank you, Ms Val, for the inspiration.. I’ve learnt loads from your article about THE GREAT HORNED OWL.. May GOD richly bless you in all that you do for HIS glory..

Have a blessed day!

Your’s in YESHUA,
a j mithra

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