Great Horned Owl

Great Horned Owl
Bubo virginianus

The “tiger of the night sky” is a common resident of the Bay Area. Although excellent at camouflage, you can often hear their distinct “hoo-h’HOO-hooo-hoo” at dawn and dusk.

Owls have excellent hearing and the ability to swivel the head allows them to target prey with great precision. Although it looks like their head is turning all the way around, it goes about 270°, or a “C”. Since they have very large eyes that cannot move around, this special adaptation also allows the great horned owls to better find prey by sight.

Bubo, our resident Great Horned Owl, was found in Castro Valley in 1999, where he was vocalizing and approaching people. These behaviors indicate he might have been raised by humans when very young. He lives in our exhibit hall and is a very popular animal ambassador, working in school tours, classes, outreach programs, exhibit hall presentations, and even on-site birthday parties!

After 20 years as an ambassador, Bubo is finally learning to fly to the glove! This will allow visitors to witness the nearly complete silent flight of these incredible predators.

What is Bubo’s favorite pastime? Engaging with paper enrichment! He lives to rip and tear using his super sharp and strong talons.