Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Now that's something you don't see every day!*

Take heart, gentle readers. Spring is showing up. Very slowly....

I have been worried for the great horned owl pair at Lake Isabella. Last year, I had just about given up on them, when they finally got their butts in gear and started laying eggs on January 29th. (Ohio's great horned owls get their babies started really early in the year, like mid-January)
It's been my thing to check on the nest can every morning, which I have been doing every day since January 15th. Today, they made my day.
GHOW first day of incubation 021709

Day One of incubation, 2009. About time, you goofy owls!
I love being able to go look at an owl whenever I want. If you have any parks near you that have GHOW nests, (if you aren't sure, ask the naturalist...and obey the Owl Roosting/Nesting rules!) you should go have a look. I work with owls almost every day at RAPTOR, but wild owls are harder to come by.
The Owl Roosting/Nesting rules:
  • If you suspect that an area is being used as a roost or nest site you must not disturb it, but watch from a safe distance.
  • Do not disturb the birds in any way
  • If you accidentally stray close to a nest, move quickly and quietly away
So there I was, grinning like an idiot and cranking my zoom as far as it would go. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a flash of feathers. I lowered the camera and saw a red-tailed hawk land in a tree about 40 feet from the owl nest. Cool.

RTHA Lake Isabella

Wait a minute....a red-tailed hawk and a great horned owl at the same time???? Was I dreaming this??

I slide around the corner of the shelter so I could get a photo of an owl and a hawk at the same time.


This was OSSUM. I then wondered if a fight would break out. My first thought was, "Cool, I can watch!" and then, "I could document!"
Alas, no fight. The red-tailed hawk flew off down the river to pick off an overfed squirrel or juicy wood rat.

After the Owl Glow cooled, I noticed all the avian hormones around me. Robins were chased each other. Titmice were chasing each other. Chickadees and cardinals were chased each other.
And the Canada Geese really, really needed to do some butt-biting:

Butt biting goose

See? Spring is coming. The birds know.

*Blogger says that I have used that title before....huh.*


Kathiesbirds said...

Susan, you think you saw something ossum? (you did indeed!) Come on over to Sycamore Canyon to read about what I saw the owls do but could not photograph. Plus, there are more raptors hanging out over here also. I have heard that Cooper's Hawks will kill baby owls. Have you had this experience? I hope the Red-tails won't do the same!

Kallen305 said...

Lucky you!! I can't believe the owl is making a nest out of a pot. How cool is that!!!

Spring cannot come soon enough for me. I love for warm weather and all of this awful ice to be finally gone with for the rest of the season.

Rurality said...

I sure had no idea that owls would nest in a sycamore, and in a pot, no less! I had thought they nested in conifers.

Beth in NYC said...

I hope to see a Great Horned Owl on a nest some day. I recently saw no a photography critiquing website a photo of a GHO nesting in a planter at the main entrance to a County Govt Building, Brevard County, Fl. Two feet above the ground. The accompanying caption said that they fenced off the area for public safety. I hope he meant for the "owls' safety."

NCmountainwoman said...

That is indeed awesome!!!

I'm glad they didn't fight, especially with eggs in the nest. I'll bet you were the kid who encouraged the fight in school, "Let's you and him fight." :)

Kyle said...

Ossum is rite! Way cool! I trust you'll keep us updated on the owls and the coming owlets? :-D

nina at Nature Remains. said...

I'm sure you'd recognize that eared profile anywhere!
We have one we hear from time to time--and CLOSE! I keep scanning old hawk nests and dead tree tops--have not seen any nesting.
You're lucky to be able to check her often--can't wait to see fuzz!

RuthieJ said...

That picture of the owl's head just peeking over the top of that nest pot is so cool!

Still hopin' for spring in Minnesota!

Katia Shtefan said...

I was very happy to notice the Neruda sonnet. If you really like Neruda, check out Red Poppy athttp://www.redpoppy.net/pablo_neruda.php. It's a non-profit set up to create a documentary about Neruda, publish his biography, and translate his works into English. To see our blog on Neruda’s literary activism, click on “Journal.”

dguzman said...

Sweet sweetness! I too have seen little signs that spring is right around the corner; it just can't come soon enough for me. Bring on the migration! Bring on the sun! Bring on the warmth!

Owlman said...

I'll be back to check out my GHO nest site in a couple of weeks. I'm hoping that they are also starting late and that there will be some activity this time. Cool photo of the RTH and GHO - SCORE!

Kelly said...

...very exciting. Love seeing those tufts popping up out of the tub. I'm reading a book on Great Horned Owls right now...perfect timing!