Great horned owl (Bubo virginianus)
I was lucky and I know it. It was a very cold day and I suspect this great horned owl was soaking up sun for warmth. A native of North and South America, the great horned owl is said to be our most common owl, but I have rarely seen one. By the way, it's "horns" are not dangerous. They are really tufts of feathers.
Not a fussy eater, its diet consists of rabbits, small mammals, geese, herons, reptiles, amphibians and - EW!! - skunks.
High up in a pine tree
This owl and its mate have lived in this area for a few years now. They don't build their own nests but every year take over another animal's abandoned nest. Many local birders are trying to guess in which nest they plan to raise their young this year. Perhaps they have already moved in as nesting often begins in January or February. For sure they are thinking about togetherness, as we spied them sharing a limb in a dense area of the forest a few days ago.
I am joining Stewart M's Wild Bird Wednesday HERE