May 3, 2018 – West Bend, WI – Well look whooo has found a cozy spot to keep an eye on everything going on in West Bend? This baby Great-horned Owl was spotted Wednesday this week by Ric Koch as he was out on his bicycle.
Shortly after arriving the mother flew the coop. (see video below) The pair are nesting in what appears to be an old vent in the south side of the former Lithia Brewery on Franklin Street just west of the Milwaukee River.
A volunteer at Pineview Wildlife Education Center said the Great-horned Owl typically start looking for mates in December and usually there are 2 – 3 eggs. There is clearly just one owlet in the nest.
Raptoreducationgroup.com provides a couple more insights below.
Great-horned Owls are our earliest nesting birds in WI. It seems a contradiction; however, the adult owls are often on nests by late January when the winds are howling and snow covers our northern landscape. Great-horned Owls do not build their own nest. Instead, they choose an old nest of a crow, hawk, or even a squirrel to call their own.
When the young owls are 6-8 weeks old, they begin to venture from their nest. This is before they can actually fly. Nature’s method provides owlets opportunities to develop their leg muscles that will very soon be catching their own prey. In a natural setting owlets that appear to have fallen from their nest actually have fledged. In a natural wooded area, bushes and smaller trees provide a ladder of sorts and allow the chicks to climb to a higher perch until they can fly. When owls nest in a city with concrete below them rather than a soft forest floor, problems arise. That is also the case with a well-manicured park or lawn setting that has nothing that can function as a ladder for the tykes.
Photo courtesy ASP Images