There are at least five of them on that one preserve, which leads one to conclude there must be a rich and abundant prey base there to support that many of these large predators.
This is a positive sign. However, we have also found that where we have these large populations of great-horned owls, we cannot get one of the two NBHCP “Covered Species,” the Swanson’s hawk, to nest anywhere near. There is, one suspects, a fear factor. Easy to understand.
So, this gives me license to make a comment at the expense of this majestic animal. And that is that my first reaction in seeing it was that it looks like Al Lewis on the old television series The Munsters.
Is this anthropomorphism? I don’t know. But it is ambivalence. Let me explain. In one sense, it is affirming that these large animals have found a home on Conservancy preserves where they didn’t occupy the area before. That says a lot about the richness of what the Conservancy has created. But it is also that as long as these great-horned owls are present at the site, we’re not likely to see it be home to beloved Swanson’s hawks. Truly mixed emotions here.