What is the most powerful Owl in the Americas? it is is the Great Horned Owl. There are many reasons for this.
The feet of this owl are the size of a plate and when this silent hunter hits its prey, the extended talons do so with a force of a bone crushing thirty pounds
The Great Horned Owl breeds throughout much of North, Central and South America
The first time Paula and I saw a Great Horned Owl, was on its hunting territory on the Canadian prairies. A landscape of wide open spaces and rolling hills, ideal for this large predator to hunt.
The bird has been revered as an icon by the original peoples of those lands
The Apache tribe especially, attributed to the bird mystic powers. Girls dared not venture outside the village at night when one was calling.
Feathers of the owl inferred wisdom and luck and the birds feathers were prized additions to headdresses.
This same species breeds through much of the Americas, as far south as Argentina, where we have seen it several times.
Paula spotted this bird hidden away in the top of a tree in the Andean mountains close to Santiago, Chile.
As soon as our Living Wild expedition moved further south into Patagonia we started to see a closely related bird, almost the same size – the Magellanic Horned Owl.
It was on a cliff, close to Puerto Deseado on the Atlantic coast, no doubt feeding on hares that were plentiful in the area, as well as skunks and snakes.
These Owls are aggressive and powerful hunters (sometimes known by the nickname of “tiger owl”).
The two species, the Great Horned and the Magellanic were once thought to be the same, but now are split into separate ones based on their different voice, size and genetics.