If you were to walk along the back trails at A.W. Campbell Conservation Area, you may notice a great horned owl watching you intently from a nest high in a beech tree while her mate silently hunts a skunk at the edge of a forest. Unable to smell the skunk’s repulsive odour, the owl would be delighted with his catch.

The Great Horned Owl.Courtesy of John Schmelefske
The Great Horned Owl. Courtesy of John Schmelefske
In the past, people believed that these birds were our enemies, but if it weren’t for hawks and owls, the number of rats and insects would get out of control. Hawks, Owls, and their kin affect our lives every day by controlling these populations.

There are over 60 species of owls in the world, and they live on every continent except Antarctica. There are 12 species of owls that live in Ontario. One of the more common species is the Great Horned Owl, which lives in the Sydenham Watershed. Its sharply curved claws (called talons), are ideal for catching and killing prey. The Great Horned Owl also uses its talons to defend its territory.

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