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Great Horned Owl

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Mama has a hard time staying awake

Great Horned Owls are some of the most adaptive owls out there. They have proven that they can survive – and indeed thrive – despite humans oftentimes intruding on their territory. This pretty lady proves that.

She and her mate have chosen to make their home not 50 yards from Interstate 25, the main north-south highway through the state of Colorado. Certainly trees here on the plains can be relatively scarce so they didn’t have a lot of options however one would think they would have preferred someplace at least a bit secluded. Instead, their nest is in full view of passers-by on the highway and a frontage road goes almost right under their nest.

The good thing for someone like me is that I get to watch with very easy access. When I saw her this past Saturday, she seemed to be sitting up high in the nest which may mean there are little ones underneath her. I will definitely have to keep a close eye on the progress.

A female Great Horned Owl has a hard time staying awake while sitting on her nest north of Denver, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

A female Great Horned Owl has a hard time staying awake while sitting on her nest north of Denver, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

Hoo are you?

I have not had much luck yet this season finding Great Horned Owls so when my friend mentioned he had spotted owls recently at an old nest site I had to stop by and see if I could find them. Thankfully I did, not that it was easy.

These guys are so darned good at hiding it was only on my third pass along the stand of trees that I found it. This particular nest was claimed by the weather last year so I am not sure where their humble abode is now but it was fun to find them again.

Great Horned Owls are common across all of North America and are the type of owl often depicted in storybooks. During the day they are usually sleeping but at night they come alive and hunt with amazing accuracy in the dark.

A very wary Great Horned Owl in Thornton, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

A very wary Great Horned Owl in Thornton, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

Hello, Henrietta!

Well I sure was thrilled to see this beautiful lady on my way home today. This Great Horned Owl nest and its occupants have become a fixture in my area and a common photo subject over the past few years.

Recent “improvements” of the open space where they live by the county over the winter had me worried that the pair might choose to move elsewhere. Thankfully they appear to have not only chosen to stay but mama appears to already be keeping some eggs warm.

I did my best to find her spouse, named Houdini by my friend, but had no luck. No doubt he wasn’t far away though. With any luck, you will be seeing many more pictures of them in the coming months.

A female Great Horned Owl sits on her nest, and presumably her eggs, in Colorado.  (© Tony’s Takes)

A female Great Horned Owl sits on her nest, and presumably her eggs, in Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

Portrait of a Great Horned Owl

This beautiful lady is Sophie. She was rescued after suffering a broken wing and unfortunately cannot fly well enough to live in the wild. Now she serves as an ambassador for a local wildlife group. Because I have plenty of Great Horned Owl pics, I didn’t spend too much time photographing her at a workshop last month but she was beautiful.

Notably was her coloring that was darker than the Great Horned Owls we have here in Colorado. This is because she is from Alaska where the owls up there tend to have darker plumage that works better for blending in with the surroundings up there. Taken in Denver, Colorado.

A Great Horned Owl stares intently. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Great Horned Owl stares intently. (© Tony’s Takes)

Houdini tries to hide

Very happy to have come across an old friend while out walking a nearby open space. I hadn’t seen him in a couple months but then there is a reason why my friend gave him that name as he is an escape artist. Just when you think you can get a picture, he disappears. Thankfully this past Tuesday he let me snap a few although not without being hidden in camouflage.

A Great Horned Owl hides among the remnants of fall foliage in Thornton, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Great Horned Owl hides among the remnants of fall foliage in Thornton, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

Great Horned Owl’s focus is on the shutterbug

It has been a while since I have captured a good image of one of these guys so I was very happy to have found this one thanks to a friend pointing it out. It was quite content to sit from its perch high in a cottonwood tree and watch me as I snapped my pictures. The fall colors behind it really made for a pleasing capture and complemented the owl’s bright yellow eyes.

Taken at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge near Denver, Colorado.

A Great Horned Owl keeps close watch from a tree with beautiful fall colors behind it. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Great Horned Owl keeps close watch from a tree with beautiful fall colors behind it. (© Tony’s Takes)

Great Horned Owl keeps watch

It has been a while since I have seen any of these so this one comes from my archives back to April 10. It isn’t too often will these cool raptors hang out in the open but on this particular day the male at a local nest seemed relatively relaxed. He gave my son and I a number of cool poses and flybys.

Here he was looking back toward the nest site, seemingly keeping a close eye on mama and his little ones.

These owls are common across all of North America and are the type of owl often depicted in storybooks. During the day they are usually sleeping but at night they come alive and hunt with amazing accuracy in the dark.

A male Great Horned Owl keeps watch in Thornton, Colorado.  (© Tony’s Takes)

A male Great Horned Owl keeps watch in Thornton, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

One cool owl

Sitting here uploading images to my online store and came across this one. This is the male from my favorite, local Great Horned Owl nest. Dad usually does his best to stay out of view but if you can find him, he usually will tolerate your presence up to a point. On this particular day back in May, he was particularly relaxed and allowed my son and I to get a good number of pics of him soon after sunrise.

A Great Horned Owl relaxes near its nest in Thornton, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Great Horned Owl relaxes near its nest in Thornton, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

Great Horned Owl shows off flying skills

I went to check out a few area Great Horned Owl nests this past Sunday, something I haven’t been able to do for far too long. Unfortunately, the young ones at two of the three must have already fledged as there were no signs of them or their parents.

However, at one, the owlet remains in the nest and the parents were more than willing to give me my fill of photo opportunities. Both Dad and Mom posed for portraits and both put on nice little aerial shows as they alternated between the nest tree and their favorite nearby stand of trees.

This image is of the female as she flew by on her way to check on her offspring. These silent fliers are very difficult to catch images of in the air as they are deceivingly fast and their low-to-the-ground, erratic flight pattern makes focusing hit or miss. Needless to say, when you do get the shot, it is a coup for the shutterbug.

A Great Horned Owl in flight in Thornton, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Great Horned Owl in flight in Thornton, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

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