Female Great Horned Owl and Owlet…
On Sunday, 04-25-21, I spent some time photographing these two Great Horned Owls. A couple months ago I went looking for their nest, but I didn’t find it. Then I got busy photographing Hoot’s Great Horned Owl family.
A friend told she had seen the owls the day before and was going back today. While on my bike ride she messaged me the owls were out, so after my bike ride I quickly grabbed my stuff and went to the area. Too quickly…I forgot my CFexpress cards for my camera.
I went back home and grabbed my cards and headed back out to the location. The forecast was for rain, but while there it was only some sleet. I think the rain kept some people away, because I spent time most of my time by myself.
Monday, April 26, 2021
Female Great Horned Owl and Owlet…
Great Horned Owlets… Fledglings Now
On Saturday, 04-24-21, I was back out sitting with the owlets. I wanted to find out if both owlets have fledged, since yesterday I saw only one of them fly. I figured either today or the next that both owlets would be flying.
First, I checked to see if I could find either Hoot, the female, or Give a Hoot, the male, around. I saw that Hoot wasn’t near the nest when I checked out the nest. A few hours earlier Hoot was perched next to the owlets.
When I didn’t find either adult I set up on the nest. Since I didn’t find the adults I knew it was going to be a long wait before the owlets became active.
The owlets got up to stretch and preen a few times, but most of the time they remained low in the nest sleeping until Hoot came in close to the nest at 1956 hrs.
I saw Hoot flying toward the nest and land about 20 yards away. I couldn’t see exactly where she landed because my view was blocked by some other trees. She started some squawks to let the owlets know she was around. This got them excited and they both woke up and immediately started branching. Both owlets have now fledged as I have seen both of them fly a couple short distances.
It appeared Hoot was only around for 10 minutes or so as I didn’t hear anymore squawks. I didn’t see her fly off because I was watching the owlets doing their new favorite things. When I left the area at 2030 hrs I checked to see if I could see Hoot, but I didn’t see her.
Once both owlets decided to perch close to each other I had to take off my 1.4x teleconverter to get them in the same frame for both photographs and video.
Hoot and her Owlets
Great Horned Owls
On Friday, 04-23-21, I want out and spent some time with the Great Horned Owlets.
I checked the nest area around 1630 hrs just after the rain had stopped. The owlets were huddled together and Hoot, the female, wasn’t around. The owlets weren’t going to be waking for another hour or two, so I checked an area for either Hoot or Give a Hoot, the male, but I didn’t find either one.
Next I walked to the the cedar tree about a 3/4 miles away for either adult. No one there, but there was a lot more white wash underneath the tree since the last time I found Give a Hoot there.
I walked back to the nest and set up my gear for what would be close to 3 hours. It started off slow as the owlets were still sleeping. About a half hour later the crows were mobbing either Hoot or Give a Hoot in the area where I looked for them earlier. I’m not sure if I missed one of them or if it moved there in the hour that I was gone. This crow noise and mobbing went on and off for 20 minutes or so.
It was about 1945 hrs that Hoot arrived at the nest with some food. I saw her coming and thought I turned on the video, but while intently watching the live view screen on the back of the camera I didn’t realize I didn’t start the video. Although, I realized my error just after she landed on the nest, then I started it. I saw that she came with some very dark or black colored prey. While Hoot was on the nest she continued with some squawk calls and Give a Hoot, the male, made one territorial call. This was the first time in a few days that I’ve heard him call near the nest area.
Hoot remained on the nest for a few minutes until it appeared the food was gone. Once she flew off I had a front row seat to watching both owlets start branching about the tree.
Today was the first day that I saw one of the owlets fledge and fly a short distance to another tree where it stayed for awhile. When it wanted to fly back to the tree with the nest it appeared it was trying to figure out how and to gain a little more courage to fly back. It made its decision and I think we were both a little nervous. Next, I saw the owlet land and I could almost hear the grip of the owlets feet tightening on the branch while at the same time flapping its wings several times to prevent falling backwards, but it made it. There wasn’t a whole lot of grace, but it accomplished it.
The other owlet didn’t fly but branched in the same tree. I expect it to fly in the next day or two.
I decided to pack up my gear at 2017 hrs. after all the excitement. While I pack up both owlets will usually sit in the nest and watch me, but tonight they were both perched at the end of the branch watching.
Friday, April 23, 2021
Great Horned Owlets…
Here is my video from my three hour sit with the Great Horned Owlets on Tuesday, 04-20-21. It was another day observing, photographing and taking video.
When I got to the nest Hoot, the female, wasn’t perched above the nest. Prior to setting up I didn’t go looking for her or Give a Hoot, the male. It was early enough that I thought Hoot would be perched nearby.
Both owlets were sleeping while I set up my camera equipment. Almost an hour later the owlets began to fully wake. It seems like they do a double take when they wake up and wonder where I came from, but then they go about being an owlet. One of the owlets changed its position on the nest, then both owlets switch positions with one another. During the next hour the owlets took turns between being very alert to the surrounding sounds to snoozing. Eventually the snoozing won out.
I heard Hoot make a squawk call at 1915 hrs. I wasn’t exactly sure where she was located, but I reached down to turn on my digital recorder to record her calls. She will usually make several calls even if she just checks in on the owlets or comes to the nest. Well, today was different it was only one squawk and right to the nest. I missed her landing, but after reviewing the video clip Hoot landed at the nest and passed off a dead bird to the bigger, older owlet. Hoot was only at the nest briefly before flying to a tree closer to me.
The older owlet started eating the dead bird while making some noise by clicking his bill. While watching the owlets it appears that the smaller, younger owlet didn’t eat anything because of the more aggressive bigger owlet. It looked to me that the younger owlet was also very hungry as was the older owlet.
Hoot jumped a couple feet away to another branch so now she was headed in the correct direction to fly off and continue hunting.
Once the older owlet was done eating the bird, both owlets became much more active on the nest. When they started to slow down I decided to leave.
While walking out of the woods I saw Hoot in the distance actively hunting. Her head was locked onto something on the ground. She didn’t bother to look in my direction and I left without getting any closer to her than I was already.
Thursday, April 22, 2021
On Wednesday, 04-21-21, I briefly stopped at the nest before continuing on to look for Give a Hoot, the male Great Horned Owl. I found one of the owlets above the nest on a branch. The other one was on the nest.
Give a Hoot (The male Great Horned Owl)
On Wednesday, 04-21-21, after checking the Great Horned Owl nest site I went looking for Give a Hoot, the male Great Horned Owl. I found him over a half mile as the owl flies from the nest.
I’ve been sitting at the nest for the past several evenings for at least 3 hours until sunset or a little after and I hadn’t seen or heard him.
I located him in the conifer tree that I use to find Hoot, the female, on many days. This tree now appears to be Give a Hoot’s main roosting tree as this is the third time I’ve found him in it this past week.
When I saw him from a long distance away I set up my tripod and camera and took a few shots to look for any unwanted distracting branches. I included this first photo of him facing more to the center of the tree. He must have come in “hot” after “A hard Days Night”. :) He hasn’t bothered to change position on the branch to face outward.
Although, he appears to be sleeping in my first shot he certainly knows I’m around. Once I get some shots I start moving closer to him. I actually moved the tripod at least 5 times to get closer and to get a couple small distracting branches out of his face. My final position was about 25 yards from him. I was also going to take some video, but with my 500mm lens with my 1.4x teleconverter I couldn’t’ fit him completely in the frame.
I located him around 1630 hours and watched and waited for him to wake up to give me some photo opportunities. I stayed with him until 1845 hrs.
Eventually, Give a Hoot saw someone with a dog walking through the woods. He stood up tall to make himself appear smaller and he changed position on the branch in case he needed to make a quick getaway, but after that it was time to close his eyes again.
Another time he woke up and was eyeing a turkey that was slowly walking near him.
Give a Hoot went through his wake up routine a couple times before he eventually woke up for the day and flew to another tree overlooking the direction where the female turkey was walking around.
This was the first time in a while that I’ve actually watched Give a Hoot wake up and not make any territorial calls.
Give a Hoot gave me many photo opportunities while I watched him. Here are my images which there are a few. I tend to post my images of the same subject all at a time instead of posting one or two over a period of time from the same day. I’m usually looking for my next photo session.