Raptor of the Month: Meet Octavius

Octavius the Owl

And, hoooo are youu?

Written By: Karlee May, Digital Media Coordinator

Octavius is an eight-year old, female, Great-Horned owl. She is one of the Education Birds at the Mountsberg Raptor Centre. Octavius is what is called a ‘non-releasable’. She does not have the skills to live and hunt in the wild because she imprinted on humans. If she was released, she would not survive on her own.

The Great-Horned owl is the most common large owl species in Ontario. Great-Horned Owls live in both deciduous and coniferous forests. They are easy to identify because they are large with thick bodies and two little tufts on their heads–called ‘plumiforms’. Octavius has broad and rounded wings: the wing span can reach up to five feet. Although Octavius looks big, owls of her species do not weigh more than six pounds (2.5 kg).

Octavius the Owl

Great-Horned owls are nocturnal, and fierce hunters. They prey on small animals like rats, mice, rabbits, squirrels, birds, and even other owls. Great-Horned Owls even prey on porcupines and skunks. Once owls like Octavius kill and consume their prey, they regurgitate the bones and other indigestible material in pellets. If you take the pellet apart, you can reconstruct the skeleton of their prey. Biology!

Great-Horned owls nest mostly in trees, and, will often take over an abandoned nest. The Real Estate market is fierce even for owls. Female owls will lay around 1-5 eggs; the Male will help the female to incubate and hunt.

Some of Octavius’s favourite foods include voles, grouse, quail and pheasants. She has quite the sophisticated palette, and through the Raptor of the Month program, we at Conservation Halton keep her belly well-fed. Please donate now!

What a #beauty!

Disclaimer: You can meet Octavius for a Raptor Encounter, and the staff will do their best for you to meet our lovely Raptor of the Month, but sometimes mitigating circumstances arise. Our staff will do their best for you to meet your choice of bird, but please mind the fact that our beloved raptors have needs of their own.

1 Comment

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One response to “Raptor of the Month: Meet Octavius

  1. Just observed a stunning pair of G.H.O.s in my backyard and the low-density forest that abuts it. So, so cool. Thanks for sharing your photos and the info about octavius!

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