Meet Juniper Our Great Horned Owl
Juniper came to the Medina Raptor Center in 2008 as a first year bird after it was suspected that she was exposed to herbicide. The exposure has compromised her vision in both eyes and has affected her immune system. Because of these injuries she can not be released to the wild. Instead she has gone on to become a wonderful educational ambassador for her species and the Medina Raptor Center.
Although she is very used to humans her talons can still pack a punch. Great Horned Owls can exert up to 750 psi at the tips of their talons. To put that into perspective, a healthy 20-30 year old human male has a grip strength of around 125 psi. They use their powerful talons to capture prey including their very favorite food, skunks. Here at the center Juniper enjoys a healthy diet of rat so we get to avoid the odor of skunk. However, most of the ones brought to the MRC stink faintly of sulfur.
During the breeding season Great Horned Owls tend to prefer pre-existing accomodations rather than build their own nests and are known to take over nests of other raptors, particularly Red-tailed Hawks. With their strength and ferocity the Great Horned Owls prefer to evict other raptors, such as Red-Tail hawks, then use the nests to lay their own eggs and raise their chicks.