I can identify a lot with this little Great Horned Owlet, looking out from its nest. I am about to leave my nest too, having basically completed my PhD thesis and getting word that my committee is willing to allow me to defend. I have been busy, revising manuscripts (I submitted three papers this week!) and networking to try to get funding for a postdoc. I have a few good leads, but definitely nothing solid at this point…
I am ready to switch directions a bit, to start examining animal behavior from a landscape perspective (an owl’s eye view?) so that I can gain skills and experience I will need to fulfill some scientific goals of mine. I feel a bit like the uncoordinated chick though, in that I am uncertain how to go through the motions to make this work. A scary time!
Anyway, I have done some more shooting at the Great Horned Owl nest last evening (surprise surprise) and have made some videos and pictures I think you will enjoy!
First, Here is a chick getting a bit cavalier about scratching.
And here is the arrival and departure of the female owl (sorry about the weird edit!):
A picture of the mother and the largest chick. The mother is considerably larger than the male, who I have never seen on the nest.
I went back to photograph the Great Horned owl nest yesterday, and it was much like many bird nests I have taken shots at. Somewhat boring, with brief moments of excitement.
The shoot started with the two chicks taking a nap, with brief stretching and alert periods.
Things got interesting when this Cooper’s Hawk showed up…I thought the adults were asleep, but the one perched above my head gave chase. Danger averted!
Here is the hawk watching from a distance.
This was my attempt to get the landing of an adult on the nest… Not too easy in the low light!
The chicks look interested though.
Here is the adult scoping out a dog and walker.
The adult actually managed to squeeze in there!
A comfy chick cuddles up to its alert parent.
For more owl goodness, check out this video below.
So yesterday, my brother Colin and I went out to see a hummingbird nest…And I realized we were quite near an area which has supported nesting Great Horned Owls for a number of years. I had never really had a tripod with me or a fast lens, so I had never gone into this dark and gloomy part of the forest to find it. Having both things on hand this time, we went to have a look, and to our surprise, the nest was quite visible from a nearby walking path! What a great day out!
Here we can see one of the chicks poking its head out to have a look. It may seem from these pictures that the adult was concerned we were there, but the majority of the time the bird seemed to be snoozing, only briefly opening its eyes.
Here the adult does some preening, while the chick has a look at a dog walking by on the trail.
I love how distinguished these owls look.
Here is a rare frame where the adult and the chick watch while we change positions.
Here is a shot of the adult with two chicks, one alert and one yawning.
In case you are wondering what the hummingbird nest looked like, have a look at this beauty!
And in other bird nesting news, check out this shot my brother got of a Cooper’s Hawk grabbing a branch for a nest just behind where the hummingbird nest was! Photo by Colin McCann.