Great horned owls are merciless predators with the capability of taking down sizable prey.
In this footage captured by the Explore Live Nature Cams, a great horned owl swoops in on a peregrine falcon’s nest and ambushes one of the chicks inside.
The falcon is able to defend the nest, but it was a difficult and lengthy battle; and one of the chicks is lost in the struggle.
The great horned owl is highly adaptable and will feast on any animal it can overtake — rabbits, rodents, birds, reptiles, and amphibians are all on the menu.
These owls are sturdily built, with a large head and broad wings. They’re the heaviest owls found in Central and South America, and the second heaviest in North America.
The species is known for its incredibly strong legs, feet and talons — their talons can exert an estimated 300 pounds per square inch of crushing force. And, it takes an unbelievable 28 pounds of force to pry open the owl’s talons when they’re clenched.
Prey doesn’t stand much of a chance of hiding from these guys, either. The birds’ large eyes act like telephoto lenses, zeroing in on animals far off in the distance. Their ears are positioned slightly off kilter, so sound waves hit each hole at slightly different times; this allows them to precisely triangulate the timing and direction of vibrations of scurrying animals in the dark or under the snow.
You aren’t likely to see many hunts in action, though; hunting generally takes place from 8:30 PM and midnight and again from 4:30AM to sunrise. Lucky for us, live cams like this give us a peek into their world.