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.
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.