Great Horned Owls at Willow Creek
The UW Lakeshore Nature Preserve's Willow Creek Great Horned Owl pair is already sitting on eggs in late February according to UW Veterinary Senior Lecturer Chuck Henrikson. According to Chuck the time for Great Horned Owl nesting incubation in Wisconsin, with typically 2 to 4 eggs, averages 32 days, roughly from Valentine's Day to Saint Patricks Day. During that time the female does most of the incubating. The Willow Creek pair can often be quietly observed from the Lakeshore Path near the DeJope "Green Dorm". Look for large lumps with 'ears' on medium to high limbs next to the trunks of old Oak trees and White Pines. The presence of top predators like Great Horned Owls, Red-tailed Hawks, Foxes and Coyotes reflects the quality and importance of preserving native habitat in UW natural areas and borders large and small throughout campus. In turn the majestic trees, quiet nature nooks, birds, and wildlife provide healthy nature recreation and moments of awe and beauty as part of daily UW Campus life, and inspiration for careers and natural science education opportunities for students. We look forward to seeing basketball size fluffy cream white owlets soon!
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Gisela Kutzbach and contributors