Great Horned Owls

The owls’ nest is in the right fork of the ponderosa pine–left pine. These pines are adjacent to the donkey paddock and not far from the barn site.

Spring is in full swing here.  The great horned owls were back again, but this time they raised their young in the nest used – last year-by the red tailed hawks. And, the red tails took the old owl nest.  This year the owls had three babies for us to view through the spotting scope. Last year they had two.

The babies were covered in fluffy down, and we enjoyed seeing them weave their heads back and forth for long periods during the day. It seemed to me they were trying to get the parent’s attention. One parent always sat nearby the nest during the day, but it seemed to ignore the nestlings—possibly preferring to come “alive” at dusk when the hunting would begin.

Bruce took this picture using his Nikon connected to a tripod, and he used a big lens. Still, it was s challenging image to get, because in the spring the wind is often blowing and the birds were quite far away. Here you see the three fluffy owls and the parent who always sat nearby.

It’s said these owls can hear “a mouse moving beneath a foot of snow.” The great horned owl is known to be fearless and will attack creatures much larger than itself– hence its nickname–the “Flying Tiger.”

The great horned owl is one of Oregon’s earliest nesting birds. The red-tailed hawks were just beginning when the baby owls were almost fledged.

Many nights I heard the owls’ hoots outside the loft window, and I knew the owls were out hunting.

Bruce and I wondered if all the activity at Mule Springs might deter the raptors from nesting so close to the barn, but it seems that our presence has not made a difference. We’re thankful for that.

10 thoughts on “Great Horned Owls

  1. Difficult to judge from the pics how big these owls are? If standing on flat ground, about a foot high? or bigger? I’m fascinated by owls and they way they can (seemingly) turn their heads through 360 degrees. Used to stand for ages in front of the owl aviary at the Pretoria Zoo, watching the birds.

    1. Difficult to judge from the pics how big these owls are? If standing on flat ground, about a foot high? or bigger? I’m fascinated by owls and they way they can (seemingly) turn their heads through 360 degrees. Used to stand for ages in front of the owl aviary at the Pretoria Zoo, watching the birds.
      Hello Alison– More like 18 – 25 inches (more like two feet) in length with a wingspan of 3.5 to 4.5 feet. The female is larger than the male. I agree they are intriguing. Thanks for stopping by. 🙂 Sher

  2. Sher, thanks for the pictures of the owls. They are just wonderful.
    I hope Randy 4 get to see these pictures he is like me and loves owls.

    1. Sher, thanks for the pictures of the owls. They are just wonderful.
      I hope Randy 4 get to see these pictures he is like me and loves owls.

      I imagine one day they will visit. Let’s just make sure they come in early spring. Thanks for checking in. Sher

    1. I think Bruce did a great job getting the photos – what a nice looking group. Hi Karen- Thanks. Sorry they won’t be here for you to see when you visit us. But, I believe the red-tailed hawks are still around their nest. Definitely bring your binoculars. Sher

  3. Dear Sher,
    Thanks for information about this side. The owls are beautiful. That’s my favourite birds. I regret, that the small owls I had only one time in my the nearest forest, but I had only possibility to heard them in the night. That’s fantastic! Thanks forthese photos. Great! Ewa

    1. Dear Sher,
      Thanks for information about this side. The owls are beautiful. That’s my favourite birds. I regret, that the small owls I had only one time in my the nearest forest, but I had only possibility to heard them in the night. That’s fantastic! Thanks forthese photos. Great! Ewa

      Thank you Ewa– I am glad you liked the pictures. Owls are very mysterious and attractive. You would enjoy seeing these birds, because they are so big. Thank you for looking at the blog.
      Best, Sher

    1. They look magnificent – I wonder what it’d be like to see them in full flight, wings spread out… impressive!

      Put your infrared glasses on, and come on out one night, and we will look for them. I know — it would be quite a plane trip to get here. LOL. Sher

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