Great Horned Owl

Great Horned Owl JuvenileJuvenile Great Horned Owl

Things are really hopping at the great horned owl nest near our motorhome here at Tanglewood.  There are two babies in the nest that we have been regularly checking in on for most of the winter.  The nest is well concealed in a tall pine tree near the wood shop.  Actually, the tree is outside the perimeter fence of Tanglewood and in the back yard of a church property on Schumacher Blvd.  The nest is more visible when looking from the church yard but the pine trees are tall enough that they come very close to the Tanglewood fence, so depending on the time of day and the direction of the sun, people can usually get a pretty good view of the adult and young great horned owls while they roost in the pine branches above.

Tony and I went down to have a look the other day and to see if we could get any decent shots.  The two young owls have been fairly active in the last week with one already leaving the nest and flying to a nearby pine tree.  It’s sibling though has still not fledged but it is nimble and agile enough to flap it’s wings and move about the branches above the nest in the same tree.  Won’t be long before both youngsters have fledged.  With the recent time change to DST, we have sunlight until about 7:30 pm now.  The young owls love to sit out in the open and face the setting sun giving great front light with relatively few shadows.  About the only problem Tony and I encountered when setting up our cameras and tripods in the church yard the other day was a few obscuring branches.  However, a little patience paid off handsomely with the above image.

There was a little disappointment though.  One of the adult owls returned to the same tree the above youngster was in with a freshly killed rabbit in it’s talons, but to a lower branch in the tree.  Tony and I both hoped it wouldn’t be long before the adult owl hopped up next to the youngster and began feeding it.  We waited in vain however as the sun sank lower in the  western sky.  The adult owl flew off after about 20 minutes still clutching the rabbit without even attempting to feed the young owls.  I’m still pretty happy with the above shot though but will definitely be trying for more shots in the coming days.  Please stay tuned.