Lady Winston is a female Great Horned Owl. She is small for a female and
for her first few years in the club she sported the name Sir Winston because
we thought she was a male. She was eventually DNA sexed and discovered to be
a female. Lady Winston came to the WSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital as a
nestling on April 17, 1999. She was found in the Pullman cemetery after
having fallen out of her nest. She was discovered to have degenerative
cataracts in both eyes and has now lost most of her eyesight. She is
somewhat imprinted on humans.
Great Horned Owls are named for the feathers on the top of their heads which
resemble horns. They have large bodies with brown and black feathering.
Their facial disks are not as round as in other owl species and are a tan or
buff color. They have a prominent white bib on the upper chest. They have
large, yellow eyes. Great Horned Owls are one of the largest and most
powerful owls in North America weighing up to 4 pounds. They can take prey
up to 2 – 3 times their own weight. Over 250 different birds and animals
have been identified as prey, including porcupines, skunks, snakes, owls and
other birds, rodents, and fish.
Great Horned Owls have very powerful feet and can exert 400 pounds of
pressure per square inch.
Great Horned Owls are the most widespread of our owls, occurring throughout
North America. They utilize a variety of habitats, and have adapted well to
living around humans. Males and females can be differentiated by their calls
during mating season; the males have a 3-note call while the female's is 5
notes and higher pitched.