Sunday, September 16, 2012

Who's Who

While it's possible to tell individual owls apart by their territorial hoot, it takes practice and a good ear.  Here's a rundown of the territorial hoots of the Great Horned Owls that you'll hear about in the blog and on the Rusty and Iris cam.

Alice, my permanently injured owl that I use in educational programs at the Houston Nature Center.

Rusty, my male breeding owl who is blind in one eye from a car collision.

Iris, my female breeding owl who is blind in one eye from a puncture wound to the eye.

Victor, my resident wild male since 2004.

Delilah, a wild female who's been around since February of 2012.  Not sure who's she's thinking about mating with!

Rhett, a wild male who hooked up with Scarlett Owl Hara in October of 2012, but seems to be trying to woo Delilah now.

Virginia was Victor's mate since at least 2004.  She was found unable to fly on a sandbar and died a few weeks later at The Raptor Center, probably from a major infection.

Jezebelle, a wild female that showed up in August 2011.  There's a chance she's the same bird as Delilah, but was just REALLY worked up hooting in August since she seemed to be hot for Rusty and tried to attack Alice (note the closed eye from hitting the window where Alice was sitting.)

Scarlett Owl Hara, a wild female Great Horned Owl who showed up in February 2011.  She seemed intent to have Rusty for her mate and she tried to kill Alice through the windows of the house at least three times.  She was around until fall of 2011 when she apparently hooked up with Rhett half a mile west of us, but hasn't been heard from since then.


  1. Hi Karla,
    I have yet another question. When do Iris and Rusty bathe, day or night? I would love to see them in that pan of water in their cage, although I know that is probably for drinking.
    I hope you have a good weekend!

    1. Very good question! Interestingly, Iris seems to only bathe at night after eating. Rusty seems to be a morning bather, usually before going to bed for the day, but I've also seen him take a dip mid-morning on hot days. Alice only bathes at night. I wonder if females bathe at night and males in the morning?? It's an interesting thing to watch and learn.

  2. I should have asked how frequently, guess they are not daily bathers though. Man I would love to see that. I watched Alice bathe, I loved that. A big hawk in my yard got in my birdbath and I got a good video. I took it in slow motion and it was amazing.

    1. Oh, sorry, no...they don't bathe every day. Maybe once a week or every two weeks...more often if it's really hot and not at all in the winter.

  3. I had never seen my hawk in the birdbath before, although I am sure it happens. I live in Tennessee and we were having 105 degrees and higher for a few weeks. He came at least once every day that I saw. Now that is HOT! And exciting. Not sure what kind of hawk, he was large. About the size of a RTH, without the red tail. So not sure if he was a juvenile or what. Someone said he could have been a Harrier. Hawks. So hard to tell them apart, well for me that is, they are so fleeting.
    Back to Rusty. Oh this morning around 7, he started to hoot and then I heard Iris for the fist time. So sweet. I think I heard a little muffled cooing sound too. Really nice.