The Royal Canadian Mint has launched the last coin in their “Birds of Prey” silver coin series.
This coin features the Great Horned Owl. These beautiful raptors are quite distinctive in appearance with feather colors ranging from soft browns and grays to varying shades of white, affording them great camouflage. They also have tufts of feathers on their heads resembling Spock-like ears; with their haunting yellow eyes, they are what many consider to be the very model of owls encountered in stories and folklore.
Often referred to as “the tiger of the sky,” Great Horned Owls are known for their keen hunting skills. Capable of taking down birds and mammals even larger than themselves, they also feed on smaller prey, like rodents of all sizes and amphibians – especially frogs. They have the most diverse diet of all North American raptors and are one of a few species that will even feed on skunks.
The Great Horned Owl’s strong talons can utilize up to 28 pounds of pressure, which can be used to sever the spines of large prey. Great Horned Owls call much of the North American continent their home and can be found across Canada, the U.S., and Mexico all year long. Their preferred environments are swamp-lands, orchards, and densely wooded forests, but they are also quite at home in agricultural areas and deserts.
Great Horned Owls will build their nests in tall cottonwood or pine trees, gravitating to abandoned nests to make their homes and rear their young. As with many other species of raptor, the female Great Horned Owl is larger than her mate. However, the male owl’s hoot sounds louder and deeper due to its larger voice box. During the nesting season, the female will normally lay between one to four eggs. Unlike their eagle counterparts, the female is solely responsible for incubating the eggs and will spend the better part of a month sitting on the nest while her mate delivers food for her sustenance. After the young hatch and are about six weeks old, they will begin to leave the nest and practice flapping and exercising their wings – often making short flights or hops around nearby branches.
The coin, designed by artist Emily Damstra includes a Great Horned Owl in mid-flight, talons outstretched, eyes on a target as if honing in on its prey. The obverse includes the current portrait of Queen Elizabeth II designed by Susanna Blunt and in use on all circulation and most commemorative Canadian coins since 2003.
The coin is available as a bullion-related product. In keeping with distribution practices common to the world’s major issuers of bullion coins, the Royal Canadian Mint does not sell precious metal bullion-related products directly to the public. Interested buyers are encouraged to contact a reputable bullion dealer to order this new coin. For additional information, please visit the website of the Royal Canadian Mint. Information offered in is English & French, with international orders dispatched where applicable.