Anne Elliott

Anne Elliott

Posted on 06/19/2017

Photo taken on June 17, 2017

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Great Horned Owl
Anne Elliott
Bubo virginianus
© All Rights Reserved
east of Calgary
© Anne Elliott 2017
Eagle Lake area
bird of prey
17 June 2017

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One of three young owls

One of three young owls
This is one of three Great Horned Owl owlets, seen two days ago, on 17 June 2017, when five of us went east of the city for the day, to visit our friend, Shirley, at her seasonal trailer. All three owlets and Mom were perched in the same tree. Dad was keeping watch over his beautiful family from a nearby tree. Apparently, there had been a fourth owlet, but it died the other day. I always find it amusing to see how different young owls are from each other. It makes them look like they have very different personalities. Though you can't see it in this photo, this owlet is actually grasping a small bird in its talons!

"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." From AllAboutBirds.

Most of our birding was done at and near Shirley's trailer site, including seeing this wonderful owl family, two Killdeer and their nests, a Baltimore Oriole, and (finally!) a pair of Brown Thrashers. I had hoped for several years to see one of these birds, so it was a real treat to see a 'lifer'. It was far away and so high up, but I managed to get a couple of shots just for the record.

As we were walking around the grounds, two ladies stopped us and showed us some baby birds that they had had to remove from the engine of their vehicle. They wondered if we knew what kind of birds they were, but we were unable to help. I posted a photo of them yesterday morning, just in case someone can ID them. The ladies had a bird house that they were going to put the babies into, hoping that the parents would hear them calling and be able to continue feeding them.

Thank you so much, Shirley, for inviting us all out to visit you while you were there for the weekend! It was such a pleasure to see some of "your" birds that you enjoy so much. Such a great variety of species! Wow, what a lunch we had, sitting at a table under the Tree Swallow tree, with a very vocal American Robin just a few feet away. How DO birds manage to sing non-stop?! Hot chili made by Shirley, and a whole array of delicious salads and desserts left me feeling full till the early evening.

Many thanks, Anne B, for picking up three of us and for driving us east across the prairies. Hugely appreciated!

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