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Great Horned Owl

April 27, 2011
Great Horned Owl

This Great Horned Owl has a low nest not far from my rental. The chicks are big and puffy with down. I visit most days, and this adult has become used to my presence enough not to fly at my approach. Copyright Mark B. Gibson

Four years ago a pair of great horned owls began nesting in what had been the nest site of a Coopers hawk, high in a tree under which I park my car. Living under the nest I was amazed at the variety of calls made by the breeding pair. Often, they made a sort of low clucking that built up into a traditional “hoot.” It was like the hoot was forced out of them.

A great horned owl chick in pines, Wasco County. Photo copyright Mark B. Gibson

They left that nest and I didn’t think they were around, but one day while investigating the ruckus of a family of Stellars jays I spotted their new nest. It was much lower, and therefore more accessible to me and my photography. These owls begin nesting in mid winter. The chicks, there are two this year, appear almost as large as the adults but are comically puffy with down, like a stuffed owl dipped in glue and rolled in feathers.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. May 13, 2011 08:10

    GASP! How gorgeous these birds are! Clytie and I were walking in the LEC when a great horned owl flew to a nearby tree, where he sat and perused Sissy and me.

    My photos weren’t near as clear as these–what a wonderful face these birds have. I LOVE your photography.

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