Thursday, May 16, 2013

Great Horned Owl in a 180 Degree Head Turn

Great Horned Owl in a 180 Degree Turn
When it rains, it pours. It was only two days ago when I wrote about our overflowing joy on seeing nesting owl for the very first time during our hike in McDowell Regional Park. Perhaps the owl learned how elated and happy we were in seeing them, that soon with the help of visiting family we learned how to spot owls from the back of our house by way of their hooting sound. You can find my post on my observed behavior of the great horned owl as I got a chance to observe them more from home in my previous post two days ago. Today, we saw owls from home again.

I guess, our eyes had been trained now to spot them. Definitely, it was not easy spotting them since it seems they camouflaged with the surrounding.  At first, hubby saw from our bedroom window the owl below that looked like a ball since he was not facing us.
The Owl We Saw from Our Bedroom Window
I went out of the house to take a picture of the owl we saw. I was not so happy that the owl was not facing us, and obstructed by a lot of pine leaves. As I was about to go back inside the house, hubby pointed out to me another owl in another tree.
The Other Owl ( this is the same owl in the very first picture above )
I had difficulty finding it, since I was looking at the same old branch where we saw the owl about 2 Saturdays ago.
The Owl We Saw Two Saturdays Ago from the Same Tree (this owl is really facing us, both body and face)
Thankfully, hubby was very patient in explaining to me where the owl  was exactly. The owl was actually a lot closer this time since he was perched on the lower branch. However, the owl had his back on us at first like the owl we saw from our window. But slowly, he turned his neck in like a side gaze from us.
Owl With His Back on Us but head turned in a side gaze
Then, without moving its body only its neck, the owl was now facing us, in an almost 180 degrees turn where his face is in line with his back.
Owl Facing Us with His Back on Us 
There is no way for us humans probably to be in a position like this owl, where we could turn our head facing our back. Owls are more flexible than humans because a bird’s head is only connected by one socket pivot. People have two, which limits our ability to twist. However, unlike us where we can rotate our eyeballs to follow an object or scan our surroundings, the owls on the other hand can't rotate their eye balls forcing them to turn their head if they need to observe their surroundings. This ability of turning heads to see what is behind them allows the owls to avoid predators or detect preys with least amount of motion so they could go unnoticed. Thus, stealth and secrecy are some of the owl's preying powers.

Are you like the night owls? Owls are sleeping during the day and active during the night. They are efficient nighttime hunters that strike from above. They use their powerful talons to kill and carry animals several times heavier than themselves. They prey on raccoons, rabbits, squirrels, domestic birds, crows, falcons, and other owls. They may be the only animal with such an appetite for skunks. They also have even been known to prey upon unlucky cats and dogs. Great horned owls are largely nocturnal so they can be difficult to spot. But they can often be heard vocalizing with their well known series of "Hhooooo H'hoos!"

Hhoooooo Hhoooo! Hhoooooo Hhoooo!  Yes, I learned that hooting sound from the owl, and I am just mimicking their sound in pure glee. :)

Life is wonderful!! How simply joyful life really is!! Now, time to go to sleep land, as the owl right now is fully awake and probably catching their preys. 
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  1. if i'm not working, i would probably be a night owl Beth. i can sleep during day time without struggling to but at night my mind is just too active i always end up struggling to sleep.

    hooooo hoooo-ing with you in glee! great, great captures of the owls. i wish you and ktl more owl sightings. enjoy your weekend wanderings! :)

  2. I'd love to be able to learn to spot owls. I keep telling myself that I will see an owl one day.

  3. Just majestic such an owl.


  4. Hhooo Hhooo HhooO shouting With glee here too! Nature really Knows Whose yard to visit! :)

  5. Wow..that is really amazing to be able to watch the owl from your own home! It's also freaky in the nicest sense to see his/her head turned like that.

    I saw a blue jay last year that turned his head completely around like this once.

  6. I always think that owl is very intimidating, the way they look at you is kind of like saying, "Don't mess up with me" lol.

  7. I can imagine if we can make our head turn 180 degrees there wouldn't be any back stabbers, or so I think. :D And I lso love to commune with nature, it gives me calmness and peacefulness.

  8. How beautiful. I think he likes and trusts you.

  9. The looks.. so intimidating but owls are such gentle creature at day time, pero watch how mean they are comes dusk.

  10. Ohhhh! His eyes! He looks so cute. The photos remind me of the character of Owl in the Tao of Pooh. A scholarly one :)

  11. Good shots esp. the first one so alive. I got scared by looking at their eyes.

  12. wow, very detailed...i bet its really lovely to see it near! beautiful pictures, you was able to captured the movement of the owl as she moves gracefully. i think, she trust you and your family for being around. :)