Great horned owl fast food pick-up

The female great horned owl is not the most gracious of creatures. While she and her mate were visiting the nesting site in our back yard we watched the male deliver countless rat suppers to her and we never saw signs of gratitude; she was very much a “Give me that thing. I’m hungry! What took you so long?” kind of person.

We could see why the male often looked somewhat anxious in her company. He would arrive with a rat and hoot for her, and she would swoop in, huge and fearsome, and grab the rat from him. She could open-throat one in about 10 seconds and she usually looked cross as it went down.

She always then immediately flew off again with nary a thank you or a kiss on the cheek.

And speaking of rats… Please don’t use rat poison: Here, we would like to add a plea for people not to poison rats. We know they are unloved creatures (poor things) but poisoned rats can be eaten by owls and foxes and coyotes, who then also sicken and die. If you need to kill rats, rat traps are safer for other wildlife.



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