Wildlife of the Week: Great horned owl

Distinct owl species common throughout Palouse



The great horned owl can be heard outside of the Olympia dorms.


The great horned owl is a common owl throughout the Palouse, often seen perched on electric poles outside of town. Its range is much more widespread, though, with eBird.org data showing it to be found from central Alaska all the way to southern Chile. This owl is the third-largest in the U.S., according to Birding World, and primarily hunts for small rodents and sleeping birds at night. Though, they have been known to take larger prey like large rabbits and even house cats or small dogs.

Great horned owls are often the stereotypical owl that comes to mind for most people with their classic and recognizable “hoot”ing calls. If you ever find yourself around the Olympia dorms at night, there is a good chance you might hear these owls hooting. This is because a few pairs have bred nearby for several years now. If you are really lucky, you might catch a glimpse of a few sitting in a tree with their fledglings.