A fledgling great horned owl watches over the Patsy Pond Nature Trail in the Croatan National Forest near Newport on an early morning last week. According to the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, the great horned owl, sometimes referred to as a tiger owl, is the largest owl species in the state, so named because of the two prominent ear tufts of feathers that resemble horns. They grow to 18-25 inches and 3-4 pounds, on average, with females generally about 25% larger than males. They have a wingspan of 54 inches and prey on mammals as large as a woodchuck or skunk, birds as big as a Canada goose, insects, reptiles and amphibians.
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