Great Horned Owl Bonanza


I don’t know what the word is for a group of Great Horned Owls, but Ann and I certainly ran into a bonanza yesterday.  A friend of ours told us that he had seen a couple at Spring Creek Park recently.  We had seen them on occasion there over the years ourselves.  We drove out to check them out.

The Great Horned Owls are difficult to see at anytime.  People will say that owls won’t appear during the day.  I say hogwash.  They are there, but you have to know what to look for and be patient.  This was about 10:00 AM.  In one area, we heard one hoot.  We stopped the car and got out and started to walk around and look up into the trees.  These owls usually aren’t distracted by human traffic as they usually are high up and confident that they are pretty safe.  They are certain that they can’t be seen.  And they are pretty nearly right.

Anyway, I finally spotted an adult high in a tree.  Then a minute later Ann exclaimed that she could see two owlets, (young owls).  She showed me with great difficulty, then I spotted another kiddo.  I couldn’t believe it.  This was a first.  We had never seen four owls at once before.  I set up my cameras and proceeded to take photos.  In all, I would shoot over 600 images that day.  But the story doesn’t end here.

We got back in the car and drove down another area of the park.  Ann yelled, “Stop the car!!  There are some more owls!”  Sure enough, there was another tree with four more young owls.  A total of eight owls within about 500 yards of each other.  As in the previous tree, they were pretty high up.

For all of my photos I used my tripod-mounted Canon EOS 7D with a 500mm lens and 1.4 tele-converter.   There was some difficulty selecting shooting positions because of the thick foliage and tree branches.  Because of the heighth of the trees, I usually had to set up twenty or so feet away from the base of the tree to get good shooting angles.  Enjoy these shots, and click on any of them to see enlargements.

Great Horned Owlets

Great Horned Owlets

A young Great Horned Owl peeks from a tree branch.

A young Great Horned Owl peeks from a tree branch while  his sibling stands guard in upper right.

Young Great Horned Owl.  Looking the worse for the wear.  Maybe survived a skirmish with a hawk?

Young Great Horned Owl. Looking the worse for the wear. Maybe survived a skirmish with a hawk?

"Do you think he sees us?"

“Do you think he sees us?”

Two young Great Horned Owls

Two young Great Horned Owls