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Nature in it's glory

Nature in it's glory

Jun 16, 2012

Great Horned Owl

Sometimes, when you least expect it, the most amazing magic moments take place.  These are the wow moments, when you want to shout awesome, or something similar, at the heavens or dance with joy.   During those moments everything within you sparkles and shines, and you feel much like a child again, and hopefully your gratitude is complete.  I was fortunate to have one of those wow moments today when I visited a local pond that is surrounded by a small patch of  forest.

Owl giving me his back
I was not looking for any bird species in particular.  My intention was to simply enjoy whatever nature had in store for me and I was not disappointed.  My first clue that it was not going to be an ordinary outing was that I kept getting glimpses of bird species and snippets of bird song, but not really seeing much of any one species in particular, except of course the Black-billed Magpies which seem to be everywhere at this time of year.  I also kept hearing what sounded like a raptor fledgeling begging for food.  I had heard the same on a previous outing, but was unable to spot the source.

Great Horned Owl spots me
At this particular location there has been nesting pair of Swainsons Hawks for several years now, and I made the mistaken assumption that I was hearing one of their offspring.  But shortly after arriving this morning, I saw that the Swainson's nest had been destroyed.  Half of it was hanging off the lower portion of the tree it had been built on.  No doubt the heavy snowfall we had earlier this year caused it's collapse.  I also haven't seen much of the Swainson's Hawks recently, when normally they would be the first bird that I see here.

Owl chooses to ignore my presence

In any case I kept hearing this "begging", but couldn't spot the bird and decided to concentrate on other birds.  After circling the forest and spending some time on a side path photographing wildflowers, I realized that the begging sound was really close.  And I just knew something good was about to happen, as I stepped under the canopy of  trees to have a look around.  The forest was really dense here and difficult to navigate, but after negotiating several fallen logs and a downward slope, I finally spotted him.  My very first Great Horned Owl, one who was objecting very loudly to being harassed by hordes of Magpies.  I was stunned, amazed, overjoyed...well it was just awesome.



  1. Oh Susan, I am very happy for you for seeing your very first Great Horned Owl! Big Congrats. They are amazing birds.

  2. Oh my goodness, such a special treat spotting the Great Horned Owl! Congratulations on the life bird! Two years ago, we spotted a Great Horned Owl youngster who recently had left the nest. It stayed in the same area for quite some time and we were always thrilled to see it. They are really cool birds!