The continuing story of a family of Great Horned Owls - by Dave Brooks
Early May, 2018. Practicing the delicate art of branch walking.
Concentration is key to successful navigation.
With one section of the branch conquered our young owl focuses on the path ahead.
May 7th, 2018. At 7:40pm this young great horned owl is flying well and practicing landing in a busy tangle of branches.
Lots of concentration needed to weave those wings through the branches…
…and stick that landing target.
A bit closer and its easier to see the branches and twigs woven all around this owl.
May 11th, 8pm. This is the mother Great Horned Owl carefully and thoroughly grooming her feathers in the last rays of the setting sun.
With twilight coming soon she is making her final preparations for a night of hunting with her family.
May 11th, 8:30pm, as darkness gathers swiftly in the fading twilight, I noticed the father owl in a dead snag in the creek trees about one hundred yards from where I was watching near the eucalyptus tree line. Several crows were harassing the owl and my camera captured the owl’s indignity and extreme displeasure.
Off with you!
May 21st, 2018, 9am. Our two young Great Horned Owls are growing, maturing and mastering flight and landing as well as lots of hunting practice. Coiled in a crouch, this owl is about to make a move, its eyes on the target, a branch just above.
The leap, and powerful wing beat make for a good launch despite having to tuck its left wing in to pass clear of the branches.
With its protective nictitating inner eyelids closed to protect against any possible damage to the eyes.
Perfectly executed landing in tight quarters.
June 3rd, 6:43am. With the golden light of some of the sun’s first rays to come over nearby Sonoma Mountain, we have our two fine young owls beginning to drowse after their long night of flying, hunting and being downright owlish in every way.
Another early morning in June this time with the mother owl on the right and one of her youngsters.
June 8th, 8:33pm. Our young owls are looking much more like adults now though they still have a way to go. Getting lively and ready for their crepuscular adventures. They are probably eyeing ma or pa across the way in the creek trees.
Over here now, just a few minutes later.
Another few minutes and mom delivers a large rodent for an early evening feast.
Twenty minutes later the father owl has launched from this dead tree and is on the move, ready to lead the way out into the night and all that it offers.
Away into the nighttime world where we cannot follow.