Great Horned Owl

January nights in Rocky Mountain National Park may seem a forbidding time to serenade a potential love, but the great horned owls don't seem to notice. The largest of the eared or tufted owls in North America, the great horned owls think January is a fine time to declare their territorial intentions and woo a mate.

Great horned owls are year-round residents in the park. During January and February they establish territories and court. In the park they nest on rock ledges, "witches brooms" (damaged trees where large numbers of twigs sprout from one spot), or the nests of other birds, especially raptors. Young are produced in March. Great horned owls are night flying birds, and are seldom seen during the day, but various of their vocalizations, or calls, can be heard at night throughout the year.

The experience of walking across newly fallen snow in the late evening or early morning moonlight and hearing the eerie calls of romantic great horned owls is an experience never to be forgotten, and one that lucky visitors to Rocky Mountain National Park can have most nights in January and February.

Last updated: March 31, 2012

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

1000 US Hwy 36
Estes Park, CO 80517

Phone:

(970) 586-1206
Through winter, the Information Office is open 8:00 am–4:30 pm Mon–Fri. Recorded Trail Ridge Road status: (970) 586-1222.

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