The Eurasian Eagle Owl King Of The Owls

 

The Eurasian Eagle Owl King Of The Owls

Welcome to My Eurasian Eagle Owl Page, Here you will enter the world of the mysterious and powerful European Eagle Owl. You will discover many interesting facts about this species and watch a great video of a slow motion owl in flight. I hope you enjoy..

  • European Eagle Owl – Bubo bubo
  • Wingspan – 140 – 200cm
  • Length - 58 – 75 cm
  • Weight - 1.5-5kgs

Description

The Eurasian Eagle Owl is a very impressive and formidable bird. It is one of the largest species of Owl in the world along with the Blakiston’s Fish Owl and is generally conceived as fulfilling the same role as a Golden Eagle but during the dusk and dawn hours. It is bigger even than the Great Horned Owl and the Snowy Owl . The Eagle Owl is definitely top of the Bird of Prey food chain.

The European Eagle Owl is a striking species. Like the great Horned owl, Eurasian Eagle Owls have ear tufts, which are of course not horns at all but in fact are merely tufts of feathers thought to break up the outline of the bird for extra camouflage.

The colouration is golden brown and buff streaked with darker splotches throughout the feather range. They are also fairly heavily feathered down to the toes and talons. The eyes of this great predator are deep Orange and very large indeed. The eye sockets actually take up most of the skull space of the owl and contribute to it’s rather slow and stubborn nature.

Habitat

The Eagle Owl preferred habitat is generally rocky open spaces and cliffs with nearby woodland. This gives them the variation in prey that they need. They have a vast range and can be found throughout Europe in a number of different climates.

These birds are very tough and versatile and as they are normally top predator wherever they set up base. They can be successful in a variety of different terrains.

European Eagle Owl in Flight

The Eurasian Eagle Owl in flight is a fantastic thing to witness. The sheer size of the 8 foot wingspan is breath-taking especially as it is coupled with the owl trademark silent flight. All species of owls have evolved feathers which instead of cutting or ripping through the air like the Hawk Bird , Eagle and Falcon Bird families, buffer the air in their flight path as they pass through making their flight almost completely silent.

Here is a great video of a Eurasian Eagle owl in flight filmed in extreme slow motion. Just imagine being a rabbit and seeing this coming towards you!

Hunting and Weaponry

This species of Owl is a serious predator and can take almost anything it puts its mind to. To hunt, the European Eagle Owl uses it’s fantastic sight and hearing to locate prey and then employs it’s silent flight to approach the prey.

By the time the unfortunate prey realises the danger, it is too late. The third link to the deadly combo is the fearsome crushing power of the deadly talons which can be almost the same size as those of a grizzly bear and can reputedly exert a pressure of over 750lbs per square inch.

I recently talked to a falconer who was unlucky enough to have been grabbed by his eagle owl. He said that the owl grabbed him around the midriff area and he was completely paralysed with pain.

Some of the regular items on the menu for a Eurasian Eagle Owl are;

  • Mice
  • Voles
  • Rats
  • Hedgehogs
  • Rabbits
  • Hares
  • Foxes
  • Young Deer
  • Crows
  • Rooks
  • Gulls
  • Ducks
  • Geese
  • Pretty much any other bird including raptors like buzzards and Goshawks are often taken whilst roosting.

Breeding

Eurasian Eagle Owls normally start to breed in November, December or January and usually nest on cliff ledges. These nest sites are chosen for their optimal height and as they are so inaccessible, the birds have fewer problems protecting their nests than other owls such as Snowy Owls which often nest on the ground in scrapes. Other raptors like Peregrine Falcons also nest on cliff faces and because of the superior speed and agility of the falcon; they are serious competition for the much larger eagle owls who find it difficult to drive away the peregrines.

However, apart from peregrines, the Eurasian Eagle Owl really does not suffer from too much competition from any other bird of prey. Its size and strength make it a fearsome contender for any patch of prime hunting or breeding territory.

The female will lay 1-4 eggs and will sit on them for between 30 and 40 days. During this time the male will have to do all the hunting and will feed his mate. She generally does not move from the eggs.

When the eggs hatch, the female continues to stay with them for the 1st two weeks. After that, the owlets can feed themselves and both the parents will bring food for them.

After 50 or so days, the chicks are ready to start to learn to fly. They walk around the nest first to gain confidence and then slowly they will venture out on to the branches.

This is a dangerous time because owls are not known for having great balance and if they fall will fall easy prey to foxes and other predators.

The Eurasian Eagle Owl in Falconry

The European Eagle Owl, much like the Snowy Owl and Great Horned Owl is not used in falconry as a hunting bird. Compared to the Falcon Bird , Eagle and Hawk Bird they lack the speed needed for hunting in daylight. An owl hunts by stealth and unfortunately the fact that there is a lumbering great big falconer (speak for yourself I hear you say) with them does not help them in this cause.

Having said this, many many people delight in flying these wonderful, powerful and mysterious Owls. To watch something the size of a large door glide effortlessly and silently past you is quite a weird sensation and they can become great companions.

All owls should be imprinted, this means when they are young, the captive bred owl should be reared by hand. It then sees itself as human and therefore loses it’s natural fear of us.

When training a bird of prey of this size and power you must always be careful, a Eurasian Eagle Owl can inflict serious damage both to you and your cat/dog/wife/budgie :) so make sure you know what you are doing. You don’t want to end up on the wrong side of an Eagle Owl Foot.

If you are lucky enough to be able to fly one of these magnificent owls, they should be trained to the fist and also to a dragged lure if you want to try to hunt with them or for exercise.

If you miraculously manage to get your owl to chase rabbits then fantastic, a rabbit is a good challenge for these owls as they do not fly very fast. Although they would be able to subdue a Hare very easily, they can never hope to catch one in the daylight hours in a fair sprint and even a rabbit is asking a bit much.

However I have heard of it being done and if you persevere then I’m sure it is possible...anyway just to fly one of these great Owls would be quite a pleasure enough!

I hope you have enjoyed my Eurasian Eagle Owl page and enjoyed the video of the owl in flight as much as I did.

If you would like to submit anything at all about your experiences with any of the topics on my site then please don’t hesitate to write something on the submission page directly below and I will upload it for you...its very easy to do and obviously completely free. We would love to hear of your falconry experiences. Otherwise please feel free to browse the rest of the site. :)