My New Book


Owl Attacks Heron On Live Cam

I love all the live nest cams that are available for us to watch online but knowing all the things that can go wrong with nesting, I keep waiting for the day when a nest cam witnesses something violent.  Sure, we’ve had epic peregrine battles, but when we are we going to see something pick off nestlings…we might get that this year with the Cornell Live Heron Cam.

Recently, a great horned owl tried to go all Hunger Games on the incubating heron.  Check out the video and the heron gets angry and loud, so keep that in mind if you are watching this at work or if you have headphones on (don’t worry, it’s not bloody):

The birds have just started incubating, but if that great horned is that brazen now…will it return when the chicks hatch?  I don’t think this is a matter of the owl desiring a nest, I’ve seen great horneds take a nest in a heron rookery–it was interesting to note that the herons didn’t take any of the nests next to the owl nest but seemed to get along fine with a red-tailed hawk nesting among them.

Will the herons be able to protect their young from an owl? A few years ago there was a raccoon that was systematically climbing up trees at a heron rookery in MN and eating the young one by one.  The MN DNR got video footage of it and in some cases the parents watched from a nearby branch without attacking the raccoon that was eating the chicks alive.

How will this nest cam end? Happily with all five chicks flying off or brutally with some being eaten by an owl? It certainly has my attention.

4 comments to Owl Attacks Heron On Live Cam

  • Normally one does not think of owls as predators for such large birds as herons but this puts a totally different light on the situation. I do hope at least some of the chicks survive!

  • Jason Kessler

    Despite it’s size, I wouldn’t have put any money down on the heron in that battle. But WOW is she a fierce competitor. I sit corrected. That shriek would’ve scared off the Manson family…

  • Brian Wisconsin

    I believe that a GBH (grievous bodily harm?) has the capability of running its beak right through your hand. Not a bird I would mess with.

  • Hey, Birdchick, I have some nest cam violence for you. Last year, the camera I had trained on a Pacific Wren nest in my carport recorded a four-hour attack by an intruder Pacific Wren. Two nestlings were dragged from the nest (one shown in this video) and the other two were mercilessly pecked, but survived.