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Owls in Austin, Texas

 
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Katze



Joined: 03 Nov 2009
Posts: 2
Location: Austin, TX

PostPosted: Wed Nov 04, 2009 12:48 pm    Post subject: Owls in Austin, Texas Reply with quote

Hi! I'm new to this grand site, and am so impressed with all the wonderful information you provide. Thank you!

I live in Austin, Texas. My husband and I are fascinated by the deep, resonant "hoots" we hear (usually each fall) between 10:30 and midnight. Found it intriguing enough to 'Google' owl sounds. After listening to the sounds on this site--and others, I suspect the sounds we're hearing come from a Great Horned Owl.

Do GH owls commonly migrate through (or live in) Central Texas?

A neighbor has seen the owls once or twice-- on rooftops and once a fence ledge. He described them as enormous; said they looked capable of carrying off a small cat.

I'm new to all this... I would love to spot one of these owls but have had no luck so far. Any hints are welcome! Very Happy
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Katze
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theowlette
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Joined: 02 Dec 2005
Posts: 461
Location: California

PostPosted: Wed Nov 04, 2009 2:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, great horned owls are common in your area. They will stick to where there is prey, but return to the same general area each year during nesting season. They are quite large, and are more than capable of carrying away a cat (or a small dog, even), so if you have pets, don't let them out of your sight during the evenings! GHO will live where they find food. I've seen them near canyons and in forests. I don't know Austin well, but they are pretty adaptable to their environment as long as there is prey.
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Katze



Joined: 03 Nov 2009
Posts: 2
Location: Austin, TX

PostPosted: Wed Nov 04, 2009 2:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

We live in a relatively quiet, suburban neighborhood. Lots of trees.... Definitely some decent greenbelt/woody areas nearby... I was initially surprised that the owls would come into a neighborhood. Thought they stayed in the wild. Could be after feral cats, raccoons, opossums... (?)

Yes, we have pets. The cat must stay inside @ night--safe from GHO!

Thanks so much for your prompt input. I am quite fascinated with these owls & am a bit obsessed with wanting to learn more about them!
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Katze
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theowlette
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Joined: 02 Dec 2005
Posts: 461
Location: California

PostPosted: Thu Nov 05, 2009 12:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Katze wrote:
We live in a relatively quiet, suburban neighborhood. Lots of trees.... Definitely some decent greenbelt/woody areas nearby... I was initially surprised that the owls would come into a neighborhood. Thought they stayed in the wild. Could be after feral cats, raccoons, opossums... (?)


These all sound like potential meals for a GHO. They also like skunks. They'll go into neighborhoods if there is prey. If you see raccoons and opossums walking down your street looking through your trash, you'll find a GHO nearby! There is another member here who posted pictures of one drinking from his water fountain in his backyard.
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owlboy
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Joined: 19 Mar 2006
Posts: 1313
Location: Albany, NY, USA

PostPosted: Thu Nov 05, 2009 11:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

GHOs are about 2 feet high. They have a menu of prey in excess of 250+ animals.

Look for them around the time you hear them. Their hoot is a 3-hoot call. You can also play the calls on this site to attract them to you. You can use a flashlight to view them. They are very brave owls and are not afraid of you. Do beware that their talons are very big and sharp.

They do not migrate. They live around your neighborhood year around.

Sometimes they do come out in the afternoon, especially if it is cloudy.
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dschroed



Joined: 11 Aug 2012
Posts: 1
Location: Austin, Texas

PostPosted: Mon Aug 13, 2012 7:58 am    Post subject: Great Horned Owl in my Back Yard Reply with quote

It started out with my wife feeding the birds. Then the squirrels showed up and multiplied. In December we were counting up to 13 squirrels. Then two Great Horned Owls showed up- one has been living in my tree for the last 8 months. Not that that many squirels anymore, but somehow, the owl still manages.

I thought I would share some photos at http://www.flickr.com/photos/30762641@N08/sets/72157630225888702/

About 30 minutes before dark, he'll begin to vocalize- starting slowly. Just as the sun begins to set out comes his head from among the branches. And just before twilight off he'll go- perhaps just to perch at the top of the neighbor's tree. There are some dying trees because of last year's drought, and he loves to perch on the bare limbs. He has not much fear as he'll land on the light pole with people below it. He was skittish at first, but now I can mow the yard and he doesn't seem to care.

During the day, he is constantly harassed by blue jays, and sometimes crows. They grow tired of squaking after 20 minutes and they are off, but to return later for more squaking. The squirrels and other birds don't pay him much attention- during the daylight hours. So, I can see where an owl 'scarecrow' is a waste of moneyl But I notice that the squirrels don't stir much around dusk anymore.

Growing up I only saw a Great Horned Owl 3 or 4 times. Now he is fixture with a personality.
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