Anne Elliott

Anne Elliott

Posted on 04/16/2015

Photo taken on April 15, 2015

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Fish Creek Park
Bubo virginianus
Great Horned Owl
bird of prey
has three owlets

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Tired out Mom

Tired out Mom
Yesterday, 15 April 2015, my parking lot was going to be spring-cleaned, which meant that all cars had to be out of the lot by 7:30 am. I don't have a 2015 street parking permit, so I had to leave home at 7:30 and find something that would use up the few hours before my volunteer shift. I didn't want to risk being late for that, so decided to stay within the city rather than go driving some backroads. The owls in Fish Creek Park ended up being my destination. I had only been there twice in many weeks and seen Mom on my first visit and then Mom with two of her three owlets on the second. When I arrived yesterday morning, there was no sign of the "paparazzi" - I had been expecting there to be at least a few photographers and people out for a walk. This time, I was able to see all three owlets as well as Mom and Dad. Late afternoon, after my volunteer shift, I called in again for a while on my way home.

The strong shadow in this image was unfortunate, but at least most of this adult female Great Horned Owl's face is lit by sunshine. Not sure if her right eye is completely closed or, as is so often the case with an owl, one eye or both could be just the tiniest bit open.

This is a busy Mom with three young ones. Dad sits in one or other of the nearby trees, keeping careful watch over his mate and owlets. He hunts at night and brings food to the rest of his family.

"With its long, earlike tufts, intimidating yellow-eyed stare, and deep hooting voice, the Great Horned Owl is the quintessential owl of storybooks. This powerful predator can take down birds and mammals even larger than itself, but it also dines on daintier fare such as tiny scorpions, mice, and frogs. It’s one of the most common owls in North America, equally at home in deserts, wetlands, forests, grasslands, backyards, cities, and almost any other semi-open habitat between the Arctic and the tropics.

Great Horned Owls are nocturnal. You may see them at dusk sitting on fence posts or tree limbs at the edges of open areas, or flying across roads or fields with stiff, deep beats of their rounded wings. Their call is a deep, stuttering series of four to five hoots." From AllAboutBirds.