Finding Great Horned Owls can be a challenge, particularly in heavily wooded areas. They have a knack for positioning themselves in just the right spot to avoid detection and more than once I have walked right by one.
Sometimes, another creature though can give you a hand in finding them. I have always found Magpies to be useful for this as they do not like the big owls and raise a ruckus when one is in their domain – follow the sound, find the owl.
On this day, it was a juvenile Cooper’s Hawk that helped a friend and I, directing us to the nocturnal predator. I have seen this same hawk hassling the female owl at her nest before and on this day, she was out and about and once again, the hawk did not appreciate her presence. It was making a lot of noise, standing on a nearby branch, making sure the owl knew it was not wanted.
The noise led us right to her and allowed us to get some nice captures. The owl would eventually tire of being pestered, move to a new spot and the hawk would pursue, again raising a ruckus. It was kind of fun to watch although clearly the owl was not amused. 😉