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Wednesday, April 25, 2018

27931 389th Ave, Armour, SD 57313 · (605) 680-3224 · info@ymkergreenhouse.com

February 2013

March 29, 2013 by  
Filed under Professor Finch's Fascinating Facts

January 2013 has proven to be colder than our previous year. A light dusting of snow occurred a couple times but no major blizzards in our area. The birds have been busy at the feeders. Numerous reports of large numbers of Common Redpolls. This last week some reports have been a smaller number of goldfinches.

My yard has a flock of 30 Red-winged Blackbirds that like to hang around. Most of their time has been spent in the trees but at times they have been seen ground feeding. There had been a female for most of the winter – evidently she invited her extended family. The 2 females and 1 male Cardinal usually are seen in the early mornings or in the evening around dark. Blustery days have brought the male in over noon for some food. The last couple weeks of January 4, Trumpeter Swans have been seen at North Point State Park. Also just south of Armour on the Geddes oil a mile, there is a Snowy Owl that likes to hang out. If you didn’t see them last year they are worth a drive. They are magnificent birds.

The spotlight bird this month is the Great Horned Owl. These owls are one of the largest North American owls. They are about the size of a Red-tailed Hawk. They are about 18-24” tall with a wingspan of 40-57” and weigh between 2 and 5.5 pounds. Females are larger than their mates but the male has a deeper voice. Pairs often call together with audible difference in pitch. They are found from the Arctic Tundra to the tropical rainforest, from the desert to suburban backyards. They are one of the most wide spread and common owls in North America and stay year round. They have a wide variety of habitat but Great Horn’s prefer open and secondary growth woodland and agricultural areas. They have a broad diet but eat mostly mammals. They hunt at night mostly from perches next to open areas.

The Great Horned has prominent ear tufts that are widely spread on the head. Immature owls fledge while still downy around head and without noticeable ear tufts. They are a large heavy bodied bird with glowing yellow or orange eyes. The owls have a tawny brown facial disc, densely barred under part and gray, brown & black camouflage pattern on upperparts.

They do not make their own nest and typically take over nests in trees made by other birds. These are often in hollows or broken off snags in trees. They have clutches of 1-5 white cylinder shaped eggs. The young are covered with white down and are helpless at hatching.

Spend some time outside in the evening hours, and you could very well be blessed with hearing these magnificent birds calling back and forth to each other.

Remember to keep your bird baths and feeders clean and full. The main attraction for the birds is open water. If the drought condition continue water for the birds will be extremely important this spring. Also the migration of birds will begin before we know it so keep an eye out for new birds.
Information for the Ft. Randall Birding Festival will also be forthcoming in the next few weeks but the dates are set for the first weekend in May.

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