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Great Horned Owl

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)

Hanging out with Mom

Lots of new mothers in the wildlife kingdom this spring and they will be spending their Mother’s Day with their new arrivals. This cute young owlet was spending a cool, dreary morning with its mom yesterday at Cherry Creek State Park in Colorado.

Unlike most Great Horned Owl nests where there are two, three and sometimes four little ones, this one is an only child but that just mean that mama has that much more time to devote to it.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the mom’s – wildlife and human!

A female Great Horned Owl owlet hangs out with its mother in Cherry Creek State Park, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

A female Great Horned Owl owlet hangs out with its mother in Cherry Creek State Park, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

Great Horned Owl makes impressive launch

A heck of a fun image I captured Sunday. I had spent the previous hour photographing this guy in a couple of different perches. The last, this one, was out in the wide open at the top of a relatively short tree – a rarity with these creatures.

After capturing some nice poses, he decided he was done and took flight, stretching his wings and his legs. The pose is quite impressive – as are those talons.

He did catch me off guard so I was zoomed in a bit too much resulting in the top of the one wing being cut off and my shutter speed was too slow to totally freeze the wings as the moved. Nevertheless, I am pleased as punch with the image.

A Great Horned Owl launches into the air in Thornton, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Great Horned Owl launches into the air in Thornton, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)