Great Horned Owl Fledgling Explores Treetops With Help From Parent

The fledgling from the Savannah Great Horned Owl cam is growing up! Watch the young owl’s escapades in the nearby treetops above Skidaway Island, Georgia, on April 18. After a preening session with an adult, the youngster receives a visit from a Blue Jay. Later, it explores the outer reaches of a nearby branch before moving on to the next adventure.

This could very well be one of the last times we see the owl family interacting near the nest site. Great Horned Owl fledglings will continue to associate with their parents for 4–5 months until they are ready to disperse. Young Great Horned Owls may “float” from area to area for several years until they are able to establish breeding territories of their own.

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During the Fall of 2014, a pair of Great Horned Owls began frequenting an abandoned Bald Eagle nest adjacent to a protected, nutrient-rich salt marsh along the Georgia coast. This nest sat nearly 80′ above one of the six Audubon International Certified golf courses at The Landings, on Skidaway Island, near Savannah, Georgia. Over the course of 2015 and 2016, a pair of owls successfully fledged four owlets from the site, but they did not return to breed in 2017.

Instead, a pair of Ospreys began renovating the nest and committed to breeding at the same site from 2017 to 2019, when the dead tree that held the nest was removed due to being designated as a falling hazard. A new nest site was erected in an adjacent tree in the fall of 2019, and the Ospreys were quick to take up residence in 2020 and 2021.

In January 2022, a pair of Great Horned Owls returned to the cam site to nest for the first time since 2016.

Great Horned Owls are fierce predators that hunt a diverse assortment of prey. They are generally nocturnal hunters, but will also hunt in broad daylight. Throughout the nesting period, the owls may arrive at the nest site with meals of small- to medium-sized mammals, reptiles, fish, and birds of all sizes.

Female Great Horned Owls spend most of the time at the nest caring for eggs and owlets while males hunt for food. After fledging, young may remain with their parents for 3–4 months before dispersing from natal territories.

Learn more about Great Horned Owls from the Cornell Lab’s All About Birds online field guide at

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