Cherish is my favorite word, and I cherish the ability of turning the routine into a beautiful moment.
Nature creates in me, a spiritual and meditative time to bring peace, harmony and balance, into an otherwise ordinary day~
Mary Howell Cromer







Saturday, April 18, 2015

Great Horned Owl and Owlets~



When I was down visiting my daughter and her husband in Florida February ending, I had a text message from a dear friend back home.  Sandy had wanted to know if anyone needed to be alerted to the fact, that a Great Horned Owl had set up a nest at the back of neighbors (Philip and Eva's) driveway, across the lane from her.  I told her that anyone who had small dogs, outside cats and any small children needed to be told.  A Great Horned Owl can do much damage to an adult human, and could really badly injure a small child, if they felt threatened by any encroachment of their territory. Once I arrived back home, one of the first things that I wanted to do, was to check in on them.  It is a nearly a thirty mile drive one way, but it was important to try and keep up with these young Owlets.  The nest was not very large, nor was it sturdy, but so far throughout all sorts of bad weather, it is holding strong.  I have heard and seen the male only once, but have no images of him~


Remember to double click on the first image, to view a larger slide show presentation after you have read the narratives~

I will be linking up with Judith for:

www.lavendercottagegardening.com

&

Stewart for:
   http://paying-ready-attention-gallery.blogspot.com.au/



The female watching over two young Owlets.  It took a couple of visits before I could see the beautiful white down feathers~



The female comes in for a landing on nest.  Such gorgeous birds!



Great Horned Owls have been known to be called hoot owls, cat owls and winged tigers.  They are certainly at the top of their food chain.  They are the only predator that will take skunks on a regular basis...ugh!  Their grip is equal to that of a German Shepherd's bite, at 500 psi.  That is a whole lot of power! They have the best hearing of all animals and are able to hear sounds 10 times fainter than a human ear can detect.   A 3 pound bird can carry 10 pounds easy, just by grabbing it up with it's talons. If they feel their nest is threatened, they will attack bear and humans alike and they instinctively go for the head and face.  They eat small mammals, amphibians, some reptiles and sometimes animals as large as a cat. They will also take American Crows and often the Crows will mob them, to try and discourage them.  They usually nest in the cold months of January and February. Most Great Horned Owls mate for life laying 1 to 5 eggs each year well before the snow melts.  The owlets hatch from eggs at around 4 weeks.  They will leave the nest at around 9 to 10 weeks of age   They grow in lengths of up to 24" and weigh up to 3 1/4 to 5 pounds~



Too Adorable~







These are kind of abstract, but still kind of fun~







Totally drenched from storms, hard to see the 2 owlets...can you see the babies?  They look like they were watercoloured~






Drenched again on another visit~




It looks like the owlet on the right is giving the one on the left a big kiss ;) and then laughing about it afterwards~






A week ago today, we had gone to visit the gravesite of Bill's mom and dad at Cave Hill Cemetery.  Afterwards, I asked if you could check on the Red-tailed Hawk nest that is always in same place every year.  Well...not this year.  There were 2 more Great Horned Owlets.  They were still in place in pouring down rain last Tuesday and this morning, they had fledged. In the wild, they can live up to 13 years and 33 years in captivity is the current record~



53 comments:

  1. Hi Mary - Fantastic series on the Owls! You have captured them beautifully. Those Owlets are the cutest ever!!

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  2. how awesome! glad they made it to fledge!

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    1. Thanks bunches Theresa. Only the bottom two owlets at Cave Hill have fledged so far...little fluffy down ones are a couple of weeks away from their big day~

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  3. Mary loved your pictures. They are so beautiful. You must of spent a lot of time to capture such
    wonderful shots.
    Rosezeeta.

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    1. Thank you Rosezeeta, the nest is a good 60 miles round trip and so when I go, rain, or shine, I do the best that I can in hitting that shutter button and then hope I got a few nice ones~

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  4. Superb G H Owl and Owlets, number 2 is my favourite, beauty.

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    1. Thank you Bob! That is a nice one ;)

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  5. Just Fantastic Mary. You really captured the size,power and awesomeness of the Great- horned Owl in those pictures. The facts that you quote are also thought provoking in making us realise how special all birds are.

    I think I may have been quite lucky in picking from the floor a young Great-horned Owl without being attacked by the parents? I did get to put a ring on the youngster though.

    Have a great week. Sorry, I ate all the birthday cake.

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    1. Thanking you Phil and well I guess since you are so far across the pond, I would have been late for cake anyway, but I know that you all enjoyed your big day. Having this amazing opportunity to see these wonderful birds has been such a sweet pleasure. I am going this morning too. How wonderful that you have handled one of these beauties~

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  6. Mary, Mary, Mary.....I have to be honest here....I am not at all happy with your post!!! This time, happy just doesn't cover what I'm thinking!!! No....not happy....but ecstatic!!! This, by far, in my opinion is the BEST post published by you....EVER!!!

    Extraordinary.

    And thanks fro visiting with me at my bird blog today...I'd Rather B Birdin.

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    1. Awe, thank you Anni, you are so sweet, all of the time. It really will shine as a very large piece to my blogging experience. In nearly 6 years, I am thinking it is one of my top choices as well, just such grand birds they are. Hope you are taking good care of yourself~

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  7. What an amazing blog post, with such remarkable images - I have really enjoyed looking at your beautiful photos and learning so much about these owls. They are the most stunning birds, and you must have so much patience to get such wonderful shots of the babies.

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    1. Thank you Diana. It has been quite a challenge to get these images as there has been rain, lots of rain, then I would arrive as the sun was coming up from behind them and well, to have these shares, it is really a wonderful opportunity and then to share is what it is all about too~

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  8. Hello Mary, awesome post on the Owls.. The owlets are just adorable.. Great shots.. Have a happy day and new week ahead!

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    1. Thank you Eileen and happy week to you as well, my friend~

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  9. Fantastic views of the owls and owlets. Each image shows fascinating perspectives.

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  10. Replies
    1. You are always so kind and I am just blessed to be in this big world ;)

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  11. wow fantastic images Mary. Those babies look like balls of cotton wool. But the parents do look strongly built. Lovely patterns on their wings.
    May what length lens do you use? You really take great photos of birds. A longer lens is on my wish list.
    Sending you hugs from Australia. Happy birding!

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    1. Wool is what I have thought as well Jill, the soft raw wool of a lamb, and every day now their wonderful feathers are forming and breaking through that lovely soft down. I am thinking they have two weeks before they are fully feathered. I use a 70/300 lens and do not own a tripod, all is shot hand held. Hugs~

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  12. Mary, aside from your beautiful photography of your beloved birds, I always learn so much from your eloquent and informative words! I have loved owls ever since I was a little girl, and along with the black capped chickadee, blue jay, and robin, they are my favourites! You have managed to capture the protective and defensive (?) look in that mama's eyes, I assume from a safe distance! I was not aware that these creatures are a threat to children, and after reading about their super strength and powerful bite, I hope that people who do have children are also aware of the great horned owl's natural tendencies.

    Did you notice in some of the mosaics, that both the mother and the owlets almost seem camouflaged by their particular backgrounds- the whitish bark behind the owlets, and the tangled branches among the mother in flight?

    Thanks for sharing my friend. I so enjoyed your photo story of this most remarkable bird!

    Wishing you a lovely weekend!

    XOXO
    Poppy

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    1. Thank you Poppy, and I always enjoy hearing from you! I must remember your favorites, and in fact you will be happy to know that Blue Jays and American Robins have each placed a nest right outside my window, same tree and getting a wee bit testy, but so far working.
      While I have never heard of a Great Horned Owl attacking a child, I felt it would be the safest thing to alert, that it would not be such a wise choice to have them near the nest...one just never knows. The pain come from those mighty talons, they are like daggers and an adult man, would not even be able to unclasp their grasp.
      You are so perceptive Poppy, and isn't it wonderful how nature creates the perfect colours to tuck away and hide these wildlife beauties. My favorites were the whites of the trees behind the whites of the fluffy down, so, so precious.
      XXXOOO

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  13. Oh Mary, once again you're in the right place at the right time. Awesome photos, aren't those fluffy baby faces the cutest thing!
    Thanks for linking to Mosaic Monday.

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    1. Thank you Judith and we all so appreciate your hosting Mosaic Monday, to be able to share with one another. It helps that friends know that I enjoy these things and invite me over ;) Have a happy week~

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  14. You are so gifted in capturing these images....beautiful to see these owls up close and those owlets are so adorable....

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  15. How incredible! I will be sending a link to this post to my husband. We always love seeing your owl photos...and babies! OH MY! They are just the cutest. It's so great that the leaves were still off the tree so you could get this amazing photos. Enjoy your week! Hugs, Diane

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    1. I appreciate that Diane and I always know that your hubby will see my posts as well, and that just blesses my heart. I am so happy that you enjoy this blog. I always love my visits with you. Hugs my friend!

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  16. Marvelous photos. Wishing you a nice week.

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    1. Thank you Mildred and have a joy filled week~

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  17. Amazing photos! What fascinating birds!!

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  18. Stunning shots, I'm thrilled!
    Thanks for visiting my blog, ♥ly greetings from germany

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    1. It was my pleasure Jutta, and we can be thankful to Judith and her Mosaic Monday. Greetings back from Kentucky, USA~

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  19. Wow....these shots are really special!
    Thanks for sharing .......

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  20. What a beautiful series. I know of nine, yes, nine Great-horned owl nests and they are very fun to watch. You enjoy those owlets as they grow and keep your small pets away or they could become brunch. Have a great week.

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  21. Wonderful photos, Mary!
    I have always liked owls and find also the adults not only fascinating but very cute as well. These ones are really impressive... and a little bit scary. :)
    Thank you for sharing. Have a great week!

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  22. I'm back via WBW links, I can't get enough of these photos you shared...well, you know that from my comment last week.

    Now, if you ever find time, come on over to Hootin' Anni's and see what special goodie I rec'd in my email last night. My WBW is linked at Stewart's.

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  23. Great photos and the little ones are so cute.

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  24. Wow, magnificent photos. I really enjoyed all of them!

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  25. So exciting!!! What amazing photos. It's wonderful to see the adults and the babies are adorable!

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  26. WOW!! Absolutely GREAT PHOTOS of this Great Horned Owl ! I love your series of photos with the babies on the nest. You are so lucky !! Also, thank you for your comment of my video on Great Blue Heron!

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  27. WOW! You have captured a wonderful series of adorable Owl images. Babies are so cute.

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  28. Incredible looking owls, and I love those fluff ball babies.

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  29. I am so glad that you stopped by Welcome to the Garden Spot because I really enjoyed this owl post very interesting. We have great horned owls here, but rarely see them Most likely we hear them late at night and perhaps see a shadow flash through the yard. They nest in trees to the north of us high up about the houses. So to photograph them for me would be next to impossible. Your photos are wonderful. As for the bunny. We can only hope that it survives. We only have a handful of cottontails of which we are very protective. They haven't damaged the garden, so they are welcome and safe, but we do have this bird dog that loves to chase them. So far they out run him. Poor things. But there are real preditors about, too, so they really are in the hands of nature.

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  30. Your images are stunning, I could never imagine that we would see these beautiful birds here in Normandy,,, what a treat it has been to see them through your eyes.

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  31. Wow, stunning phooto's all of them and the babies are so cute.
    Have a nice weekend

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  32. I have waited to comment on this amazing post because I wanted to show it to my husband. Your photos are superb and we have enjoyed this post so much. Just recently we watched a program on PBS Nature called Owl Power with air date February 18th. Perhaps you saw it or could view it online. We taped it and have shown it to our children and grandchildren.

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  33. wow, that´s a beautiful owl and so many gorgeous images of the family. Thanks for sharing.

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