Gulf Coast Local Secret #11
Central Gulf Coast Owls
One of the great things about the Central Gulf Coast is the incredible variety of birds. Among them are Great Blue Herons, Great White Herons, Night Herons, Bald Eagles, Osprey, Pelicans, and, of course, the Great Horned Owl. All these and many, many more thrive along the Florida Gulf Coast. Catching sight of these birds is usually quite easy. To see owls, however, bird watchers have to work a little harder.
Seeing a Great Horned Owl
Great Horned Owls might be found in any forested area along the Gulf Coast. Discovering where they are hiding is another matter. They are very good at hiding and are also known as the Tiger Owl, probably due to the stripped pattern on their feathers, which helps them to blend into their surroundings. It is far more likely that you will be sighted by a Great Horned Owl than the other way around. To see these remarkable birds, the advice might seem a little too obvious. You need to look up! Great Horned Owls like to sit high up in large trees and will usually sit on a branch right where it comes off the trunk, for added concealment.
Sighting Great Horned Owls on the Central Gulf Coast
The two best places to see Great Horned Owls are Kapok Park and Honeymoon Island Recreation Area. Kapok Park has wide open spaces with bike and hiking trails surrounding a lake. A pair of Great Horned Owls has been known to breed there, offering a potential sighting of chicks. Honeymoon Island is a nesting site for a variety of large birds, the Great Horned Owl included. Park rangers and locals usually know where the owl nests are so don’t be afraid to ask.
Good luck with your sightings and be sure to have your camera ready!