Anne Elliott

Anne Elliott

Posted on 04/19/2015

Photo taken on April 15, 2015

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oiseaux de mon monde oiseaux de mon monde

Birds of a feather Birds of a feather

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Great Horned Owl
Anne Elliott
Bubo virginianus
Fish Creek Park
one of three owlets
sitting side by side
front view
bird of prey

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How sweet is this?

How sweet is this?
Four days ago, on 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 four mornings ago, 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.

Note added on 19 April: I've just checked the EXIF data for my photos from that morning and talk about being lucky! When I got to the park, I took my first photo at 7:52 am. The photo above was my sixth photo, and was taken at 7:54 am.. I think I was actually standing on the paved path for this. I heard today that a 10 minute limit has now been put on watching and photographing the owls at this location, thanks to the people who are there from morning till late afternoon every day (or almost every day). I had a bad feeling that these people were going to end up spoiling things for everyone else, and now it has happened. Can't say I agree with the "10 minute thing", but all day every day is going way too far. Sigh ....

This is a busy Mom with three young ones – not sure which owlet this is. 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. The feathers around Mom’s beak are very dark, discoloured from the dried blood from all the feedings.

"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.

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