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About The Nest

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Location

The nest on the cam is located on private property in an undisclosed area since some raptors can be quite sensitive to human activity while nesting.  This will be the first season for this pair of Great Horned Owls.  

Hilton Head Great Horned Owls

In the Hilton Head Island area, the Great Horned Owls generally nest in late fall to find the nest.  GHOs typically nest in trees such as cottonwood, juniper, beech, pine and others.  They usually adopt a nest that was built by another species, but they also use cavities in live trees, dead snags, deserted buildings, cliff ledges and human-made platforms.  This pair has taken over the eagles' nest of Harriet and Mitch. Nests often consists of sticks and vary widely in size, depending on which species originally built the nest.  GHOs may line the nest with shreds of bark, leaves, downy feathers plucked from their own breast, fur or feathers from prey, or trampled pellets. The male finds the nest for the season.

Female GHOs are larger in size than their mate weighing around 3.5 pounds.  The male weighs around 2.7 pounds. 

 

Instead of turning eyes, an owl must turn its whole head and the GHO can rotate its neck 270 degrees.

 

The clutch size is between 1 – 4 eggs and have 1 brood per year.  The egg weighs around 1.8 oz. 

 

Incubation period is 28 to 37 days (averaging 33 days) and the nestling period is approximately 42 days. 

 

The female alone usually does all the incubation and rarely moves from the nest, while the male owl captures food and brings it to her typically soon after dark.

 

At birth the young weighs 1.22 oz. on average and can gain about 1.2 oz. a day for the first four weeks of life with typical weights in the range of 1.8 or 2.2 pounds by 25-29 days for males and females, respectively.

When first hatched the young are covered in whitish gray down, with some brownish about the wings.

Pairs typically breed together year after year and may mate for life.

​There are many bird nests in the Hilton Head area including eagles, osprey, red tailed and red shouldered hawks, owls, and great blue heron nests to name a few.  

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