I finally had the opportunity to visit my buddy Jim’s property to check out the nest site of a Great-horned Owl nest. This pair has used this snag for about 5 years to raise their brood and I am disappointed in myself for not visiting sooner. I had no idea how perfect the views into this nest were. You couldn’t ask for a better setup. Unfortunately, I was a bit late this season as well. The chicks fledged within days of my first and only visit. Hopefully next year!
Here are a few from my visit. These were taken in early afternoon so the light was a bit harsh.
March 2020 seems so long ago. Back at the beginning of the COVID 19 pandemic, when we were all getting used to social distancing, I remember watching this nest with a few other photographers. I only made it to the park on a few days and unfortunately did not cover much of the course of the two chicks’ development. But what little time I did have with them I managed to capture a lot of interesting behavior. I’m sorry if this one is a little long, but I had a hard time cutting things out. Scenes where mom and the chicks are looking horizontally or up and mom is giving her best defensive display was in response to a pair of Canada Geese that would sometimes buzz the nest, apparently interested in potentially taking over that prized knot hole for their own nest. Then there is another sinister enemy that I won’t spoil for you… 😉
I hope you will find this as entertaining as I do.
“Further on I find a bloody spot, encircled by the arc of owl’s wings. To this rabbit the thaw brought freedom from want, but also a reckless abandonment of fear. The owl has reminded him that thoughts of spring are no substitute for caution.”
It’s surprising how often these guys take to yawning. The poor things spend the first couple months or so stuck in the nest, so what else do they have to do? I’m sure this time for them lasts forever, just like those endless days of summer youth do for us. Do they reminisce as they move on through the years of those days spent packed in a tube with their siblings?
“The Great Yawn”
Technical details: Canon EOS 7D camera, EF500mm f/4.5L USM lens, ISO 800, f/5.6, 1/100 sec
This one was taken near first light the morning after our near 24 hour long snow event a few weeks back. Mom seemed to have stayed the night in the nest, presumably helping to keep the chicks warm and out of the snow. The family seemed pretty miserable, but all three chicks made it through. In this one, mom is in behind two of the chicks that are visible.
“End of a Miserable Night”
Technical details: Canon EOS 7D camera, EF500mm f/4.5L USM lens, ISO 400, f/7.1, 1/200 sec
This image was taken of a GHOW nest this year that was located in a park not too far from my house. The owlets have recently left the nest, but will be dependent on mom until near the end of this summer. This pair of “Cat-Owls” have used this cavity in this snag for their nest site for at least the past three years. I will be sharing more images taken from the nest over the next week or so.
Technical details: Canon EOS 7D camera, EF500mm f/4.5L USM lens, ISO 640, f/6.3, 1/160 sec