A Special Place for Owls!

I very much like to see and photograph owls! So do a lot of other people. As a result, far too many owls are disturbed by people, and to avoid harming the owls or to ensure they are not bothered unduly, locations are not posted or communicated by those who are conscientious and wish to protect these magnificent birds. That makes it a real challenge for a newcomer to a region to find owls. I have been fortunate this year however in finding one quiet location, in which there are two owl nests about 500 metres apart. One of the nests is a great horned owl’s nest, the other is a barred owl’s nest. In this secluded area, I have been able to observe the parents (by sight and sound), see the great horned owlets fledge and now await the fledging of the barred owlets. While the great horned owl nest is wide and open (in this case, very high up in a tree), the barred owl nest is in a hollow in a tree, also very high up. I cannot actually say I have seen the nest, but by watching the owls, I know where it is. The following photos record some of my observations.

Great horned owl, on the nest. The little bit of white fuzz to the left of the owl, is the first sign I saw of the owlets. There were two.
Fledged great horned owlet. This owlet, was still on the tree where the nest was. Its sibling had moved on to another tree. They were being carefully watched by the parents.
Great horned owl watching over the fledged owlets. While watching, I saw a raven, eagle and turkey vulture come into the vicinity of the owls.
The more adventurous of the owlets, near the tree that had the nest. It is incredible how quickly these owlets grow! A day or so after this photo was taken the owls “disappeared”. Although they are undoubtedly in the area, the forest is so dense, the trees so tall, and the area is bounded by private property and a large creek, making them very difficult if not impossible to locate. Unlike the barred owl, the great horned owl is much quieter in the daytime.
Barred owl. This one I believe is the male. He was very visible in the vicinity of the nest, and I often heard him calling to his partner, who often responded with a muffled reply. I concluded that the partner was on the nest, located in a hollow. Over several days, the reply always came from a certain tall tree with lots of snags.
This owl, the male, never seemed bothered by my presence, and spent a lot of time observing me, always drifting off to sleep.
In the last couple of weeks, I have seen both the male and female owl, sometimes together, sometimes hunting. I believe that the eggs have hatched and the owls will soon fledge. Both owls are certainly spending more time out of the nest and considerable time hunting. On three occasions, we have found the owls as a result of alarm calls from robins.
The female barred owl with a bird it subsequently took to the nest. (It is very difficult to tell the female from the male, except when you see them together. The female is larger.)
It was special to see the owls groom each other, all the while aware of my presence.
Mother, on guard, watching the nest. Hopefully I will be able to watch the fledged barred owlets in the next week or two.

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