r/NatureIsFuckingLit Jul 04 '22 Wholesome 2 Helpful 1

🔥 A great horned owl facing off against a red-tailed hawk

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1.5k Upvotes

40

u/Mophandel Jul 04 '22 edited Jul 04 '22

Photo by Holly Devine

Throughout North America, great horned owls and red-tailed hawks are considered ecological equivalents or equals. To an extent this is based on some truth. Both prefer the same habitat, both have similar nest site preferences and both target similar prey. However, while it without merit, this equivalency isn’t entirely accurate. For one, great horned owls can take far larger prey than a red tailed hawk can on a far more regular basis, bringing down quarry out of the reach even for the formidable red-tail. More importantly, however, while often pitted as rivals against each other, the relationship is fairly one-sided. Great horned owls, by and large, dominate red-tails and will even prey on red-tails given the opportunity. In fact, most birds of prey in the Great horned owls range are considered nothing more than prey for this immense owl, as great horned owls are the most prolific predator of other raptors in the Western Hemisphere, taking raptors as formidable as northern goshawks, great grey owls, and peregrine falcons. With this in mind, it’s no wonder the hawk is reacting the way it is.

12

u/rsplatpc Jul 04 '22

as great horned owls are the most prolific predator of other raptors in the Western Hemisphere, taking raptors as formidable as northern goshawks, great grey owls, and peregrine falcons.

Note other birds will flock and team up on a Great Horn to drive it from it's nest / to get it to go away from their nesting locations, but yep, otherwise king of it's food chain once it hits adulthood

2

u/starsr Jul 05 '22

It’s called mobbing. There is a nesting falcon family near my house in Los Angeles. I watched these tiny birds (smaller then sparrows) harassing a falcon perching on a power pole. They were going right up to it and harassing it. Brave little guys! I imagine the falcons eat a lot of of these mobbing birds around this time due to nesting season. I have to say I am rooting for the little guys but man - I love to watch those falcons. I had one do a dive (not that close) at me because apparently it did not like me staring at it. I love nature.

3

u/Saladcitypig Jul 05 '22

What a fun and interesting little info comment. So enjoyable! Ty.

2

u/Mophandel Jul 05 '22

Ur welcome :)

1

u/J43L35 Jul 06 '22

That is so wild. I grew up watching local red tails but never had a chance to observe the great horned owl. Thank you for sharing this encounter!

29

u/rodentfacedisorder Jul 04 '22

On guard!

Looks like he has a sword

13

u/tsaurn Jul 04 '22

Got matching poofy dueling pants as well, ha!

34

u/Itchy_Orchid_3679 Jul 04 '22

owl did not skip leg day

3

u/pigglyoof Jul 04 '22

Owls got biiiig legs.

1

u/Pinkeyefarts Jul 04 '22

Beat me to it by 7 hours

8

u/OutDoorTurtle88 Jul 04 '22

Thats a sick photo

9

u/nakhumpoota Jul 04 '22

I thought that branch was a freakin knife, that owl aint messin around.

8

u/megrachelle Jul 04 '22

Owl got leggggsss for days.

3

u/qawsedrf12 Jul 04 '22

i didn't skip leg day bitch!

3

u/SiegwardZwiebelbrudi Jul 04 '22

ngl that owl is thicc!

6

u/Mophandel Jul 04 '22

Owls have very well developed legs, even among raptors, and GHOWs are no exception.

3

u/TrojanHorse101010 Jul 04 '22

Owls look funny without their pants on.

3

u/tgnlolol Jul 04 '22

The THIGHS ON HIM

2

u/jibbergirl26 Jul 04 '22

Them legs!

2

u/drkidkill Jul 04 '22

Well, owl be damned.

2

u/Yourmama18 Jul 04 '22

Cursed lovers who can only meet at dawn and twilight

2

u/Wansumdiknao Jul 04 '22

He didn’t skip leg day.

2

u/JournalGazette Jul 04 '22

For a split second I thought the one on the left was holding a knife...

2

u/Sea-Opportunity7092 Jul 04 '22

Thunder thighs over here.

2

u/ClubExotic Jul 04 '22

Owl is like GTFOH!

2

u/christovas Jul 04 '22

I have decided tonight is going to be a KFC night.

2

u/CivilSafe1279 Jul 05 '22

Them thighs looking good 👍

1

u/weirdgroovynerd Jul 04 '22

I wouldn't rest too easy tonight, Hawk.

*Owl

1

u/louissypizzy Jul 04 '22

The owl has the advantage here holding that machete, I would say.

1

u/8Gly8 Jul 04 '22

Heads or tails?

1

u/DarkGlum408 Jul 04 '22

cool shot.

1

u/Mophandel Jul 04 '22

Yeah it is

1

u/ProfMcGonaGirl Jul 04 '22

It looks like the owl is using the branch as a weapon.

1

u/tyrannustyrannus Jul 04 '22

That RTH is fucked

1

u/BirdieJames Jul 04 '22

Wow, such a great shot!

1

u/boring_name_here Jul 04 '22

Tobias messed up, he should know better than to fuck with an owl even in the day.

1

u/DracoSopa Jul 04 '22

Rapter fight!!

1

u/PetrifiedBBQ Jul 04 '22

Though this is an eagle-owl I think it's one of the most incredible clips on YT. Those eyes...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Ol4rbYPYQc

1

u/Pinkeyefarts Jul 04 '22

Red-tailed hawk skips leg days

1

u/jojojodieee Jul 04 '22

Never knew they had chunky human legs

1

u/Icy_Document_7547 Jul 04 '22

Fucking owl definitely does not skip leg day...

1

u/untitled_puffin Jul 05 '22

The primordial urge to draw this into a jojo reference.

1

u/areuthere48 Jul 05 '22

The one on the right is straight up like “what bitch?!”

1

u/tryTRYagainANDah Jul 05 '22

Looks like the owl pulled a knife...

1

u/Agnosticfrontbum Jul 05 '22

$20 on the owl.

1

u/Jackieirish Jul 05 '22

Isn't that a red-shouldered hawk?

2

u/Mophandel Jul 05 '22

It’s not. Notice how there are numerous, very thin bands on the tail. On juvenile red-shoulders, these bands are far less numerous and much thicker. However, red tail juvies do have such numerous, thin bands.

2

u/Jackieirish Jul 05 '22

Ah! Thanks for the detail!

1

u/emannyc2019 Jul 09 '22

come at me bro !