Thursday, March 18, 2021

Hoot, Give a Hoot and Two Great Horned Owlets

On Wednesday, 03-17-21, I went out and spent fours hours of quality time with Hoot, the female Great Horned Owl, who is sitting on a nest.

I’ve mentioned before that I saw Hoot roosting in a spruce tree on 02-03-21. Then the nest time I found her on 03-09-21 on the nest, but I don’t know the exact date she started nesting.

Since I’ve located her on the nest I’ve gone out every day to check on her and take a few photos, but only spending a few minutes at a time with her.

I’ve also put out my GoPro on 03-11-21 and 03-14-21 to get an idea what’s going on in the nest. Although the GoPro video doesn’t give me a close up view of the activity taking place, I have seen Hoot with her head in the nest to either move the eggs, rearrange any nesting material or even the possibility of tending to or grooming an owlet.

Hoot is nesting in an area with several branches blocking all my views of her so I’m not able to get any clear photographs without any unwanted distracting branches. I get what I get… :)

Today, I decided to go out and sit and watch her for several hours. I ended up watching her for 4 hours. I brought my 500mm f/4 Nikon lens with my 1.4x teleconverter to grab some images and some video.

I knew I couldn’t stay out where I’ve been taking my daily photos of her, because I would most likely be spotted by someone in the amount of time I planned to be with her. I knew I would have to hide so my chances were even slimmer to come away with any video/photographs that didn’t  have any distracting branches. Again, I was there to mostly observe,  but it would be nice to get some nice images/video, too.

I got to Hoot who was on the nest at 1530 hrs and I took my daily photo, then proceeded to get small and hide. :)  While getting out my tripod I saw out of the corner of my eye an owl fly off. I also saw what scare it away. I first thought it was Hoot, but she was still on the nest. It was, Give a Hoot, the male Great Horned Owl, who must have been perched somewhere near her.

For the next four hours I sat and observed while taking both photographs and video. I started my video every time I saw Hoot flinching, so I had about 100 video clips. I eventually saw an owlet who appeared very small. It wasn’t until I got home and reviewed the video clips that I saw that there were actually two owlets.

 Give a Hoot must have only flew off some 50 yards when I first got there, because over an hour later the crows spotted him. I could see several crows mobbing him in the distance and making a lot of noise for about 15 minutes. Then at 1900 hrs. I saw him fly back toward Hoot, but it was another half hour or so before he began doing some territorial calls.

It appeared when Give a Hoot began calling that the owlets began responding to his calls and became more active. They began their little begging calls, too.

I left the area at 1935 hrs so Hoot could fly off and join Give a Hoot, so she could bring back some food. While packing up my gear Hoot flew off the nest in Give a Hoots direction. The two prior times I had my GoPro recording her she left the nest within a half hour of sunset.  

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