This past weekend I was ecstatic to see not just one, but two of these awesome little owls in the wild. They were in fact the first non-captive screech owls I have ever seen. Both are found within two different suburban parks southwest of Denver, Colorado and while one was relatively easy to spot in its cavity, this one was much harder to locate.
As you can see, it fills the cavity and unless you knew where it was, you would be hard pressed to find it. In fact, I walked right by it three times before finally locating it. It spent the vast majority of the time I was with it sleeping, with very little movement.
However, for some unknown reason, at one point it woke up and began making the distinctive ‘trill’ call they are known for. After a few minutes, it closed its eyes and went right back to sleep. So much fun to see – and hear!
What do they sound like? Check out this page from Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s website here.
As you can tell, once it saw me, its focus changed from hunting for breakfast to the guy with the camera. It was pretty well concealed and I had to work to get even these half-way clear captures. Still fun to see these guys and am always amazed at how well they have adapted to urban and suburban encroachment on their territory.
One of the cool things about visiting wildlife education facilities is the opportunity to see species that we don’t have here in Colorado. Such is the case with Wicket, a Barred Owl.
Wicket was found with an injured wing, rehabbed, and taught to be an educational bird. He put on a nice little flight show for us.
In North America, these owls are found across the eastern half of the United States, the Pacific Northwest and southeastern Canada with a few spots in Mexico. They aren’t migratory, usually hanging out within a very small area during their lives, choosing forests near water for their homes.
Taken at Nature’s Educators in Sedalia, Colorado.
Every year there are at least a couple of these dark-plumed beauties hanging out northeast of Denver. This year I have struggled getting pics of them which annoys me. I did get some images of this one a few weeks ago. Light was low so the quality isn’t the greatest but I am still happy to have captured the pics.
These are my favorite hawks. They are very large and can be mistaken for an eagle at a distance. Their plumage is just gorgeous and that smile that they seem to have very cool. While they can be found here in Colorado year-round, they are most common during the winter months.
A fun little slideshow of a very cool raptor enjoying a meal recently. This hawk had caught its prey in a field and then was kind enough to eat it – whole – right in front of me. Awesome! Taken in Weld County, Colorado.
Part of a bit of a home improvement project we undertook recently to dress up the family room. Started by installing the rough, old-looking wood wall. Then added track lighting at the top and now just completed adding some of my ‘top shots.’
All images done on metal as I really love those. A bit pricey but well worth it. It wasn’t easy narrowing the choice of images down to 14! Hard to believe but these are actually the first Tony’s Takes pics hung in our house.
With so many of the winter sports that we have been watching on TV the last couple of weeks, a perfect landing is crucial to getting a good score. Well, this raptor was not to be out done by those athletes and I have to say I would give his form and the landing a perfect 10. 😉
Honestly, this image, captured last weekend, is probably my best eagle landing shot I have ever captured. In fact, it is one in a complete series of this male as he approached then landed in a tree right by me. Just amazing and to say I am happy with this image would be an understatement.
This guy and his mate put on quite a show for me on Sunday. It won’t be long and she will likely lay eggs and begin sitting on the nest. Quite a few other mated pairs in the area already are.
A fun image of this visitor to Colorado from the Arctic. It spent much of this particular afternoon perched on house in suburbia, primarily napping and enjoying what was actually a relatively nice day. Snow was not in the forecast and it was relatively sunny but suddenly a dark cloud moved over and light snow began falling. As it did, the Snowy Owl looked skyward, seeming to enjoy the change in weather.
It is rare for Snowy Owls to come this far south but this year there have been at least five different ones spotted in the Centennial State. The types of events that bring them here are called an irruption and while it isn’t perfectly clear what causes them, it is believed that a very successful summer breeding season results in an over-population of young owls in the Arctic. As a result, many head south in the winter in search of food.
Kind of a fun few images I captured late last month on a very cold morning. The Bald Eagles in the area oftentimes drop parts of their meals on the ground. This particular Crow didn’t seem to mind the leftovers although it didn’t look like there was much meat on the bone. 😉
There is something about these holdovers from the Old West that oftentimes (to me) just begs for a monochrome treatment. Perhaps it is because when seeing them my mind can’t help but drift back 250 years when millions of these massive creatures roamed freely across the plains.
These massive animals were hunted to the brink of extinction in the 1700s and 1800s with as few as 750 reported by 1890. Their numbers have since rebounded with about 500,000 now living on public and private lands. In May 2016 the Bison became the official mammal of the United States, a fitting and long overdue honor.
Taken at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge near Denver, Colorado.