Connect With Me
Tony's Takes on Facebook Tony's Takes on Twitter Tony's Takes on Google+ Tony's Takes on Pinterest Tony's Takes RSS Feed
Photo Use Information
All photos © Tony’s Takes. Images are available for purchase as prints or as digital files for other uses. Please don’t steal; my prices aren’t expensive. For more information contact me here.
Archives

Great Horned Owl

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)

Hoo hoo is down there?

A Great Horned Owl does a picture perfect flyby, keeping a close eye on the shutterbug as it goes over. The owl’s interest in my son and I though was actually secondary to that which was chasing him – a Cooper’s Hawk.

A Great Horned Owl pair has a nest not too far from my home and we paid it a visit Sunday morning. Dad was keeping close watch from a nearby stand of trees but he had a bit of a tormentor, a pair of Cooper’s Hawks that did not appreciate his presence.

This is the second time we have seen the hawks hassle the owl and while I have yet to find it, I suspect they too have a nest in the area thus causing friction between them.

The series of images I captured of the owl as he flew over came out pretty danged awesome, this one being my favorite. Unfortunately I was not aware that the hawk was in pursuit so I failed to get any images of the two of them together head on together.

A Great Horned Owl stares at the photographer as it flies over in Thornton, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Great Horned Owl stares at the photographer as it flies over in Thornton, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

Great Horned Owl male takes a nap

After what was probably a long night spent hunting and keeping his mate happy, this guy was having a hard time keeping his eyes open. It will only get harder for this guy to get rest from here on out as it should be only another week or so before the little ones at their nest hatch. I of course am definitely looking forward to seeing them – and sharing the pics with you of course. 😉

A male Great Horned Owl takes a nap in Thornton, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

A male Great Horned Owl takes a nap in Thornton, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

Great Horned Owl showcases perfect flyby form

The bad news was that the male at the local owl nest was not willing to pose for pictures this day. The good news that more than made up for that was that he was willing to put on a bit of an airshow.

My friend has taken to calling this particular owl Houdini as he seems to have an almost magical ability to disappear at will. He has a talent for hiding and disappearing better than any other owl I have ever found. If he doesn’t want you to see him, you don’t.

This past Sunday he let us see him but wasn’t in a mood to sit still. Soon after finding him, much to my delight, he performed a picture perfect flyby in some gorgeous early morning light. It is pretty darned rare to get a capture like this so I am happy as heck. In fact, there were 10 images in the entire sequence of similar quality.  Scroll down to view them all.

A male Great Horned Owl keeps close watch while flying by. (© Tony’s Takes)

A male Great Horned Owl keeps close watch while flying by. (© Tony’s Takes)

Hoo hoo dares to intrude on my domain?

I finally managed to find dad! Mom has been sitting on a local nest for a couple weeks now but, as usual, spotting the Great Horned Owl dad was proving to be elusive. It seems like we play this game every spring but once I find him the first time, he re-realizes that I am no threat.

On Sunday I set out with the intent of finding the guy, searching hard in his favorite stand of trees. I was having no luck and had just about given up when he made the mistake of taking flight from where he was hidden.

Having given away his location I was then able to find him easily and while he may have been annoyed with me, he was quite tolerant and we spent a good bit of time together. I’m looking forward to continuing to document him and his family in the coming months.

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

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

The master of camouflage

To say Great Horned ??Owls? are usually difficult to spot would be an understatement. They blend in extraordinarily well with their surroundings and find ways to hide themselves in thick trees that is beyond explanation.

Yesterday while walking through a stand of trees I heard the unmistakable ‘hoot’ of one nearby. While I was quite certain I knew which tree it was in, I had to spend 20 minutes walking around and studying every part of the tree to find it. The owl had itself so well buried in the thick of the tree this is the clearest capture I could get of it (other than a parting flight shot).

Now that most have setup nests for the season I should start having better luck getting decent images of them. Taken in Morgan County, Colorado.

A Great Horned Owl does a nice job of hiding and camouflaging itself. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Great Horned Owl does a nice job of hiding and camouflaging itself. (© Tony’s Takes)

Finally! Great Horned Owl nest is occupied

Finally! This owl’s nest has historically been an active and successful one but I had not seen anyone home since the spring. Today mom is finally manning the roost. No sign of dad but he was likely nearby. This isn’t a great nest to see much at now as it is up very high. However, in a couple months or so, if all goes well, little ones should become visible.

A Great Horned Owl sits on its nest in Adams County, Colorado.  (© Tony’s Takes)

A Great Horned Owl sits on its nest in Adams County, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

Owlet takes a leap in the rain

A Great Horned Owlet tests its wings and prepares to jump back to the nest which was about 10 feet away. Taken last May in Commerce City, Colorado, this was from a very successful nest that yielded four little ones that fledged. It was cold and rainy and lighting was dim but it was a lot of fun watching them as they tested their wings.

Unfortunately I am just not having much luck finding nests in my area this year. I’m not giving up yet though.

A Great Horned Owl owlet prepares to jump to the nest. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Great Horned Owl owlet prepares to jump to the nest. (© Tony’s Takes)