Most of the wildlife around here has been very frustrating to me. Now, I like animals more than some people, I think, but there is a definite difference between a raccoon in a pretty picture, and a 30-lb one eating your chickens! Or a funny looking porcupine who strips your precious apple tree of bark, or innocent looking deer who devour whole gardens in a single night, or rabbits who do the same.
But I finally have a piece of wildlife around that is on my side!! Yay for owls! I have always loved their soft hoo-hoo-hooooo! Their ridiculously solemn, round eyes and heads that swivel. They are cool creatures, indeed. But the coolest thing is that they are predators! They eat mice, gophers and rabbits. (I suppose chickens too, but I can keep those inside a run) And when I discovered that a pair had built a nest in my backyard, I was simply delighted.
It’s been really hard to get a photo of them, tho, as they always fly off the nest the instant they see me. So yesterday I tried sneaking out with my camera. Newsflash: with their eyesight being some of the best in the world, you cannot sneak up on an owl. 🙂
She immediately spread her wings to cover her chick in a protecting manner. I think you’d get your hand pecked off if you tried reaching under that wing! But my waiting was rewarded. When mama owl flew off, finally, I saw the cutest little fuzzy head in that tree! It was not making any noise, just hunkered down, waiting for mama. I yelled, clapped, whistled and banged on things, trying to get it to raise it’s head and look at me.
Oh, I was so excited to see this cute baby! I’ve never seen an owl chick before, to my knowledge. I believe this is a Great Horned Owl, but I am not a bird expert. Do any of you know for sure?
You might compare the one in your yard with pictures of the Western Screech owl, as well as the Great Horned. We had a Great Horned one in Ohio once (we are pretty sure it had rabies, it was not well!) and it stood at least as high as my knee when on the ground. It was really big.
At any rate, congratulations! That is a rare gift, to get to watch a cool bird like that make a nest and grow babies!
Eunice McBryant says
Love the pictures. It would be neat to see.
Rachel M. says
The boys are right here with me and saying they want one!!
We read “Owls in the Family” here a while back, so they’ve been wanting a pet owl.