The great horned owl’s speed, weight, and muscular power all combine to give the bird the force to overcome animals many times its own weight.
The arrangement of the great horned owl’s tendons and their connection with the machinery of the toes forms a powerful equipment with which to strike its prey. When the bird strikes a victim, the force of the blow alone tends to bend the legs, contract the tendons and drive the claws into a vital part. In addition to this, the powerful muscles of the legs are brought into play to force the talons home.
Indeed, the great horned owl little regards the size of its victim for it strikes down geese and turkeys many times its weight, and has even been said at times to drive the bald eagle away from its aery and domicile its own family therein.
• Image | © Josh More, Some Rights Reserved (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
• Sources | (Bent, 1937; Forbush, 1929)