Baby great horned owl yawns as he cuddles with his brother

Great horned owls are large and powerful birds. Although they are not the tallest of the owls in North America, they are the heaviest, and often referred to as the largest of the owl family. Their grip strength is unequalled and their talons are razor sharp. As hunters, few owls compare. These owls are particularly of rabbits but they will eat most rodents, small mammals, and even other owls. These owlets are a few weeks old, having hatched in late March. Great horned owls are the first birds in North America to nest and lay eggs. The owlets will fledge in a few more weeks, following their parents and learning how to catch food on their own. For now, they remain in the nest with both parents sharing in the feeding. At first, they will rip chunks off of their kill and feed the owlets small pieces that can be swallowed. As they grow, the parents will leave larger pieces of food in the nest and the babies will tear their own smaller pieces off. The mother and father watch protectively from nearby branches as the babies sleep and eat and wait for their feathers to grow. This adorable little fellow has been awake long enough. He has grown tired and he yawns adorably several times before settling down in the nest for a morning nap. The owls will return each year, building a new nest in a new tree, but always favoring this clump of pines in the forest. Great horned owls choose a preferred territory and nesting area, returning annually.

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