Cassini (Great Horned Owl)

Bubo virginianus

Description: web 003

Cassini was found as an adolescent Great Horned owl in the possession of drug dealers working in Visalia.  They also had pitbulls and a rattlesnake.  Cassini was habituated to being around people.  He is not happy being handled but will tolerate being perched and having people near him.  He cannot be released since he has no fear of humans and his familiarity toward humans might be taken as aggression. He is quite a talker, often hooting when we approach and talk to him.


Great horned owls are one of the largest owls in California only topped by the Great Grey Owl.  They stand 18-23 inches tall with a 5 foot wingspan.  The females are larger than the males.  They are amazingly camouflaged for cottonwood and oak woodlands.  The basic body color is overall gray spotted with brown, with white and black markings.  Their eyes are a deep yellow.  Their name “horned” owls comes from distinctive ear tufts that are 1 ½ to 2 inches long.  They have a remarkably strong grip, second only to eagles.  Great horned owls give a cry of 3-8 hoots.  They are silent in flight.  Because their eyes are positioned in the front of their heads, they have excellent binocular vision even at close range.  Their vision at night is 100 times more sensitive than humans and their hearing is equally sensitive.  The feathery facial disks help channel sound to their large eardrums.  They are capable of turning their heads 270 degrees.