Spring is the time of renewal. But some do not wait until March to get started.
Great horned owls are the first bird to nest during a calendar year in East Tennessee usually in early January. Burrrr.
Perhaps they start early because there is less competition for the available food. And raising young, vulnerable owls this size would take a lot of prey, and pray.
This year there's a very public nest in downtown Maryville that's been getting a lot of attention. Jason Dykes visited the location several times over the weekend and was finally rewarded with a glimpse of a nestling. First of 2015!
Congratulations, Mom and Dad, it's a girl! Or boy! Hard to say. At least it's a fluffy white thing sitting in its lofty perch surveying the seat of government in Blount County.
The Cornell Lab of Ornithology states,"The development of young Great Horned Owls is prolonged over many months... Although the nestlings are unable to fly for ten to twelve weeks, they begin venturing out onto nearby branches after about six weeks. Because fledglings remain dependent on their parents for food until fall, their harsh begging calls may be heard throughout the summer."