We are Southern Arizona’s only state-of-the-art wildlife hospital running 24/7, 365 days a year.
We are dedicated to the rescue, rehabilitation and release of Southern Arizona’s injured or orphaned wildlife.
For Help or Emergencies, please call us at 520-290-WILD (9453).
April’s Feature Creature- Great Horned Owls !
It’s Baby Great Horned Owl Season!!
Did you know?
Great Horned owls are the most widely distributed true owls in North America. They are also one of the earliest nesting birds, laying their clutches weeks or even months before most other raptors. Great horned courtships start in October thru December, with mates chosen by January. Great horned owls mate for life and are monogamous, and will usually nest and breed in the same home range year after year. They do not however build their own nests, but will take over another large bird’s nest, with red tail hawk’s being one of their favorites. The most Mom will do at this point is line the nest with feather for her upcoming babies.
Egg laying begins in February, with an average clutch of 2 eggs — 3 is uncommon, and 4 is rare. Incubation lasts between 28-37 days, and the female never leaves the nest, depending on her mate to keep her fed. Once the little ones are hatched, Mom and Dad both work endlessly to keep up with their growing brood’s food demands. At this hatchling stage, a baby can sometimes get pushed out of the nest by a sibling. If found, he can be safely be placed back in the nest, if it can be reached — It’s a myth that the parents will reject them if they smell people; Only some vulture species have a well developed sense of smell — but do watch out for the parents! Great Horned owls have the nickname “Tiger owls” for their fierce defense of nests and territory. From about 2 weeks old to 2 months, the owlets are busy learning to grasp, climb and defend themselves.
They are capable of a range of hisses and clacks to communicate, and will eventually begin to mimic mom and dad’s signature Ho-ho-hoo-hoo-hoo! Around 6 weeks of age, the babies are braver, and “branching” venturing out of the nest on to near by branches to spread their wings and strengthen wing muscles. Sometimes during this period, the little ones will fall, as they are not competent flyers until around 6-7 weeks of age — but if you find one on the ground, don’t worry! Mom and dad are keeping an eye out, and will continue feeding him, and usually he is able to get himself up safe out of harms way for the night. If the juvenile bird does seems sick or injured, he may require the help of an experienced rehabber.
It is illegal to keep an owl yourself, and they can become very ill without a specialized diet. Once a great horned owl is old enough to leave the nest, they will usually stay in their parents’ territory for 10-12 weeks, or until the next clutch is laid — then they are off to find mates and territory of their own.
Please stop by next week for more Great Horned Owl information!!
Be involved. Rescue.
We are always seeking help from the public to achieve our mission of saving every life we get. From donations to event planning to volunteering, we are grateful for aid from the Southern Arizona community.
Donate to the Center.
We greatly appreciate any donation from the community. We hope to reach our goal in order to expand the hospital to help more animals and teach the community about rescuing wildlife.
We want the Southern Arizona community to know as much of our mission as possible. We allow guided tours of the facility by appointment only and will give educational talks at your institution. For information on our community outreach, please