On the coin’s obverse side is the 2003 image of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II designed by Canadian artist, Susanna Blunt. In 2003, Susanna’s design of the queen won the national competition for future minted coinage.
From that moment on, Susanna’s image of the queen became the official design for the obverse sign of the Royal Canadian Mint coinage. The queen’s portrait has changed five times since she took the throne in 1952, more recently with her latest portrait in 2015.
The reverse side of the coin features a glorious image of the powerful great horned owl getting ready to swoop down on its prey. Its wings are spread and its claws are ready to grab whatever lay in its path, and its eyes are focused intently on the unseen prey. Also on the reverse side of the coin is the purity of the coin at the top, the weight of the coin at the bottom, and the initials of the artist responsible for the image of the great owl.
What makes this imagery even more magnificent is the frosted design of the owl amidst a textured background. It makes for a striking image that invokes awe. The artist responsible for this design as well as the other three birds within the Birds of Prey series is illustrator Emily Damstra.
The first bird of the series was the peregrine falcon, followed by the bald eagle, and then the red-tailed hawk. All four of the birds are depicted as if they’re in flight with their wings spread, which amplifies the power of these birds of prey.
Great Horned Owl History
The great horned owl is known as a powerful predator capable of taking down not only mice and rabbits, but even birds and mammals larger than itself. It resides pretty much anywhere in North America, Central America, and South America. This graceful bird is highly-adaptable with the ability to survive anywhere—the desert, your backyard, in the big city, within the depths of forestry—anywhere its majestic wings will take it.
And interestingly, the talons of the great horned owl are so strong that it would take up to 28 pounds of force to attempt opening. Its “death grip” is said to have the ability to literally sever the spine of prey larger than itself, including raptors. The owl’s feathers look luxuriously soft, and that’s because they are. The softness of its majestic feathers allow it to fly quietly through the night without detection from its prey.