Great Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus)
Alberta's largest eared owl (55 cm, 22 in. long), the great horned owl is common throughout Alberta, and is the Provincial Bird. It is readily identified by its large size and prominent "horns" pointed toward the sides of the head. In flight, the ear tufts are held flat against the head. The neck and back are light brown speckled, streaked and barred with black and white. The undersides are light in color and heavily barred, accentuating the white throat.
The great horned owl resides all year in forests, open woods and river valleys of all but the alpine zone. The total range includes north and south America with breeding occurring north to tree line. During the breeding season, pairs confine themselves to wooded areas. The great horned owl nests earlier than all other birds in Alberta (with the possible exception of the grey jay). Two to three eggs are laid in later February and early March in old nests built by hawks or crows. Prey includes large insects, mice, rabbits, domestic and game birds. Hunting begins at dusk, but on dark days the owl may hunt in the afternoon. (This text information was provided by Alberta Government Resource Development)