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Horned Owl Feeding on Garter Snake

Wade Fox
Publication Information
Journal: 
Condor
Volume: 
50
Issue: 
1 (January-February)
Section: 
From Field and Study
Year: 
1948
Pages: 
46

Horned Owl Feeding on Garter Snake

Late in the morning of September 9, 1947, just as the coastal fog was breaking up and permitting the sun to shine through, I witnessed an immature. Horned Owl (Bubo virgianus) feeding on a freshly killed garter snake (Thamnopis sirtalis infernalis), The event took place near the Skyline Boulevard, about 4% miles south of the San Francisco County line in San Mateo County, California. I obtained the remains of the snake for verification by scaring the bird into flight at a moment when it had laid the snake on the ground. The size of the remains indicated that the snake had been about 2.5 feet long. About half of it was missing and presumably had been eaten. The young owl flew very poorly about 50 yards across a pond beside which it had been feeding and landed on the ground on the other side. There were no trees in the vicinity.

WADE FOX

Museum of Vertebrate Zoology

Berkeley, California

October 4, 1947.

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