A mature will make lots of other sounds including whistles, barks, shrieks, hisses, coos, and wavering cries. That will send shivers down your spine on a dark night in the woods. To the unsuspecting hiker it could possibly cause you to soil your britches.
Over the past 6 months we have had the opportunity to observe and photograph three different species of Owls and in some cases their young ones also. This has been such an exciting 6 months and we consider ourselves privileged to have this amazing opportunity. Two of the Owls featured in this post are the Great Horned and the Barred. These two Owls are residents of our area and while they are commonly heard they are less commonly seen. The Snowy Owl is by no means a resident of North America but instead calls the Arctic it's home. The Snowy Owl will at times venture this far south during an event known as an "irruption". I have discussed this term at great length in a previous post so I promise to not bore you again in that regard. Instead I will bore you with new ramblings.
Okay, before I scare off the few readers that follow my Blog, I have some good news. The good news is that this post will be more pictures and less writing. How's that for good news! The truth of the matter is that Owls are awesome but they don't juggle, they can't be trained to ride a bike and they can't balance a chair on their chin. Yes, they are amazing but there isn't a lot I wanted to write about them. Let's just say they are amazing to photograph but to write about..... not so much. So here are the Owls I promised. The first series of pics are of Great Horned Owls, including a mature female and the young owlets.
The images above were taken in early May 2015. I wanted to include the mature female watching the nest from a distance. As you can see in my pictures, sometimes she is wide awake and watching with both eyes open. Then there are other times she closes one eye to take a little rest. In another picture, you can see that her eyes are closed and she appears to be napping but I bet she's a real light sleeper and keeps constant vigil over the nest. The last picture shows one of the Owlets looking out of the nest which is the top of a rotted tree. There are actually two of them in there.
The picture above was taken in early June and they will be fledging very soon. Unlike Eagles, Owls will fledge the nest before they are able to fly. I imagine they kinda' just plop to the ground. I think they ought to give some thought to doing what the Eagles do as it would be a whole lot safer and probably not hurt as much.
The three pictures above were taken very shortly after one young Owlet fledged the nest. We missed this even by possibly minutes but no more than two hours. He's got this look on his face like, "holy crap, that was a rush". Or possibly, "maybe we should give some thought to learning to fly before we leave the nest". Or possibly, "okay, now what". At any rate, he looks nervous about being away from the safety of the nest high up in the tree. We shot these pics from a considerable distance and they are cropped significantly. It's important to not stress the critters.
The next pictures will be of Barred Owls. I am only posting a couple pictures because they were taken on two different nights as darkness was approaching. The first night we found the Momma but didn't locate the nest. The next night we located the nest but only one of the three babies would pose for a picture. Unfortunately, by the time we got back into the area again, the Owls had fledged. Bummer for sure but we were happy for the opportunity we had to photograph them. Hope you enjoy!
Here's the little baby Barred Owl that I had promised to show.
Last but not least, here are a couple Snowy Owls that visited Gull Point for awhile. I had previously written a post on Snowy Owls so I'm just including a couple recent images taken this winter.
Hope you enjoyed your time with the Owls and forgot all about the Hooters you had hoped for.