Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Great Horned Owl

Nesting Great Horned Owl, McDowell Mountain Regional Park, Scottsdale, Arizona
The first time I saw great horned owl in the wild, it was excitement beyond words. We never saw this bird in the wild before, except some of our neighbors telling us they saw owl in our neighborhood. However, great horned owls are nocturnal birds that are not active by day. They sport a natural color plumage that easily hides them in the wild. They are known to use great secrecy and stealth for preying powers.
Great Horned Owl Nesting in Saguaro Cactus
During our last spring vacation in Arizona, while hiking at McDowell Mountain Regional Park, from afar, I saw clumps of dried weeds in saguaro. Very familiar with birds nest, I told hubby to take out his zoom lens so we could check if what I saw indeed was birds nest. After zooming in, how glad we were to find that they were nesting owls. I was so enchanted on seeing them that when we got home, I tried to pay more attention to the trees around us to find the owl that our neighbor told us about. Until we had family visiting, and told us about the "hoooo.....hooooo....hoooo" sound of the owl that they could hear from the guest room. After learning the hooting sound of the owl, we became more aware of the owl being closer to us than we thought. The hooting sound is something we hear almost everyday, waking us up early in the morning. 
Great Horned Owl from the back of our house
We never thought that the bird's party every morning was because of the owl's presence. Our neighborhood has a lot of other birds, among them, crows. Since owls are second to red tail hawks as main predators of crows, crows tend to congregate together at a considerable distance from owl and mob the owls with their angry caws, for hours on end. Thus sometimes, in the morning, when the owl start to make the "hoooo.....hooooo" sound, and then followed by crow's "caw.....caw.....caw", we told ourselves, "good morning! the partying birds are now telling us to get up!"

When we realized the "hoooo....hoooooo......hooooo" sound was from the owl, we started looking up more on the trees, and true indeed, we saw the great horned owl looking at us. 
The owl seem to be a friendly bird, never bothered by our presence. However, soon, the show started to begin, crows went to another tree, and started cawing at the owl, haha! Crows are known to mob the owls and hawks with their caws knowing that these two are their main predators. Now, I understand why oftentimes, I saw crows cawing at hawks on air, probably it is their way of getting angry at their predators. Or saying, "catch me, if you can!"
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  1. Betchai, what a great shot and how exciting to see them in the wild. Wow!

  2. Are you kiddin me? a horned owl? wow. I think that is so special. Also I love learning from your posts of the history and details of the subjects. Thanks!

  3. These pictures are amazing. I have always hoped to see an owl myself, but I never have.

  4. Catch me if you can.

    Yes, you have caught them alive.

  5. glad you caught Mr. Owlie With your camera! :) l have yet to get face to Face with one. :) l Can imagine you and Khai happy like Kids! :)