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Great Horned Owl

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I see you down there!

“I see you down there!” A Great Horned Owl owlet checks out the photographer in Thornton, Colorado. My time with this trio was brief but so much fun. I learned about the nest early last week. On the day of this picture, Thursday, two, including this one were in the nest still. One had fallen out of the nest and was perched in a bush on the other side of the trail. The nest day, all three were out of the nest.

A Great Horned Owl owlet peers down from its perch about its nest in Thornton, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Great Horned Owl owlet peers down from its perch about its nest in Thornton, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

One owlet stands out, two stay hidden

What a fantastic find my friend turned me on to. A pair of Great Horned Owls established a nest along a very public greenbelt not far from where I live. I have photographed GHOs and their nests many times but only in traditional, stick nests. This is the first I have personally seen one in a tree cavity which makes for a unique scene.

I’ve visited a few times over the past week, photographing both parents as well as some of the three little ones. On Monday, one of the little ones was standing tall just above the cavity. If you look closely, you can see one of its siblings peering out from below. I never did get a decent shot of all three but was able to verify two down in the cavity. With any luck, one of these days I will get a shot of all three before they fledge.

You can see more of my pics of these types of owls here.

Great Horned Owl owlets hang out at their nest in Thornton, Colorado.  (© Tony’s Takes)

Great Horned Owl owlets hang out at their nest in Thornton, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

Yeah, those meat hooks would do some damage

Check out the talons on this cool dude! My goodness. Owls aren’t often seen as predators but believe me, they can be just as ferocious as any raptor and have the tools to do it – clearly. This Great Horned Owl is the male at one of the nests I have been watching this season. Pictures of him have been elusive but last Friday he was posing right out in the open (relatively speaking given it is an Owl).

This week I restructured my online store to include a section just for my owl pics, ensuring I give them their just due. Check it out here.

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

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

Little owlets, big eyes

My goodness. Look at those two cuties! I got a call Sunday from a friend that one of the area Great Horned Owl nests had some activity in it. Of course I rushed up there to see the goings on but unfortunately I apparently just missed mom feeding the little ones. I did, however, get some cute captures of the three of them as they nestled in for a post-breakfast nap.

Two Great Horned Owl owlets sit alongside their mother at a nest in Thornton, Colorado.  (© Tony’s Takes)

Two Great Horned Owl owlets sit alongside their mother at a nest in Thornton, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

Little Great Horned Owl Owlet makes its first appearance

Well, lookie there! The first little fluff head of the season that I have seen. This is a new nest this year, not too far from my home.

I stopped by yesterday, mainly just expecting to see Mom laying down, and was pleasantly surprised to see a bobblehead in there with her. I thought I saw a second owlet briefly but never got a pic of it and it might have just been the butt of the first one. 😉

The nest is WAY up high and in a thick stand of trees so visibility is really limited. Hopefully I will be able to get a better look when they get bigger.

A Great Horned Owl owlet peers out from the nest it shares with its mom. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Great Horned Owl owlet peers out from the nest it shares with its mom. (© Tony’s Takes)

Great Horned Owl on alert

I don’t expect this owl and its mate get many visitors. I was driving a rural back-country road and passing by a thick stand of trees with the rising sun directly behind it. Something caught my eye, something looking out of place among the silhouetted, tangled branches.

I hopped out and worked my way to the other side, putting the sun at my back and was pleasantly surprised to find the owl pair hiding out. Given how rural the area is, I don’t expect they really expected or appreciated the impromptu photo session. I grabbed a couple quick captures and left them to their solitude.

A Great Horned Owl keeping close watch in Adams County, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Great Horned Owl keeping close watch in Adams County, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

Hoo hoo’s down there?

I had taken the day off and headed northeast of Denver for a wildlife drive. Arriving at Jackson Lake State Park, I get out of my truck and hear the distinctive call of a Great Horned Owl. Pure luck in timing that this one was calling to its mate that happened to be in a nearby tree. Somehow I don’t think the lovebirds appreciated being interrupted though. 😉

A Great Horned Owl keeps close watch from above.  (© Tony’s Takes)

A Great Horned Owl keeps close watch from above. (© Tony’s Takes)

Great Horned Owl keeping close watch

One of the mated pair of these cool hooters not far from where I live. It had chosen a perch well within some thick tree cover in an attempt to hide from some crows that were hassling its mate. It worked and I was able to get in some quality time photographing it. I just love their eyes!

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 Great Horned Owl keeps watch from within some thick trees in Adams County, Colorado.  (© Tony’s Takes)

A Great Horned Owl keeps watch from within some thick trees in Adams County, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

“Would you please just leave me alone?”

Spotting a Great Horned Owl is not normally easy but sometimes you get the help of other feathered creatures. Such was the case here. I headed out at sunrise to try to see if I could find Houdini and Henrietta, a nesting pair of Great Horned Owls not far from my home.

I did find them surprisingly easily initially but both flew off, preferring their privacy. I wasn’t having much fun relocating them but then heard a racket of cackling crows. I knew that likely meant they had found one of my owl friends and were not happy about.

Following the sound, I found Henrietta and, unfortunately for her, about a half-dozen crows that were hassling her. She was pretty upset, no doubt just wanting to sleep after a night out and about. She would move to another roost and the crows would follow, never giving her a moment of peace. This went on for a good half hour before the black birds gave up and my female owl friend got a break.

A Great Horned Owl is hassled by crows in Adams County, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Great Horned Owl is hassled by crows in Adams County, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Great Horned Owl is hassled by crows in Adams County, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Great Horned Owl is hassled by crows in Adams County, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Great Horned Owl is hassled by crows in Adams County, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Great Horned Owl is hassled by crows in Adams County, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

Great Horned Owl stays focused on the photographer

Boy, it has been far too long since I have had a decent chance to photograph one of these. My last couple visits to this pretty lady’s area have been unfruitful. I’m not worried though as these guys are masters of camouflage and I could have walked right under her and not seen her. I’ll have to give it another try here soon as I am missing seeing them. Taken in Adams County, Colorado.

If you love raptors like this owl, check out my 2018 Raptor calendar here.

A Great Horned Owl keeps close watch on the photographer. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Great Horned Owl keeps close watch on the photographer. (© Tony’s Takes)

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