Watch out pets, Ohio’s Great Horned Owl is about to change its diet

Fall and winter means the owl is looking for different dinner options

Watch out pets, Ohio’s Great Horned Owl is about to change its diet

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) -The leaves are just about all gone in Northeast Ohio which means snow is next, covering what the Great Horned Owl uses as hunting grounds.

Unlike a lot of birds in Ohio, the Great Horned Owl will not migrate for the winter, instead it will stay and guard its territory.

Tamarack is a Great Horned Owl who lives at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. The owl's diet changes in the winter months, and could technically take out a house cat.
Tamarack is a Great Horned Owl who lives at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. The owl's diet changes in the winter months, and could technically take out a house cat. (Source: Cleveland Museum of Natural History)

“The thing that they have to do though, is with the change of season, often times the menu changes,” according to Harvey Webster, chief wildlife officer for the Cleveland Museum of Natural History (CMNH).

“For instance if you are feeding on snakes, or frogs and those types of animals they’re not available so maybe you’re eating squirrels and you’re eating rabbits and mice.”

Housed at the CMNH is Tamarack, a 10-year-old Great Horned Owl that is used to educate the public.

Tamarack is blind in her right eye after being hit by a car in Western Pennsylvania, and would more than likely not survive in the wild.

Here kitty, kitty, kitty.

Posted by Dan DeRoos Cleveland 19 on Thursday, November 8, 2018

A sharp beak and three-inch talons are quite intimidating, and the perfect size for small pets.

“I don’t think you have anything to worry about from a Great Horned Owl,” Webster said with a slight smile. “However, this is a big bird and you can see the talons that she’s got. She might be able to handle something the size of a cat. We recommend that you keep your cats indoors that way you’re never at risk.”

Editor's note: This content is part of a partnership between Cleveland 19 News and the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. Find more videos like this on Cleveland 19’s Roku and Amazon Fire apps.

What’s crawling in your house? Prowling in your backyard? What am I seeing through my backyard telescope? Did I really just see a bald eagle during my drive home? Are coyotes dangerous? Experts from the Cleveland Museum of Natural History join us to set the record straight on Cleveland Natural – helping you better understand Northeast Ohio nature and providing tips on how to best share our region with our wild neighbors. Explore the wonders of science and nature at cmnh.org.

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