Great Horned Owl: Essex County

April 12, 2017 in Great Horned Owl

_W7I4629-001A beautiful morning walking around from the end of Crane Neck St. in West Newbury with fairly bright sun, a bit of haze, light winds from the east at 5MPH, and temps just over 60F.  Observed a female Great Horned Owl in incubation posture on a distant nest in the midst of a former Great Blue Heron Rookery.  Based on the calendar, the owlets likely hatched a few weeks ago and they will be visible very soon with their white fluffy down!

Great Horned Owl on nest!

April 11, 2017 in Great Horned Owl

_W7I4344-001Under overcast skies, winds SW at 10MPH, and warm temps in low 80’s, made a visit to the Ward Reservation to observe the female Great Horned Owl brooding her young.  At this point in the calendar, the chick or chick may be around 4-5 weeks old and making an appearance soon around the level of the nest!  The female is now sitting much higher in the nest indicating a growing brood below!

Great Horned Owl on nest!

April 3, 2017 in Great Horned Owl

_W7I0904-001When Great Horned Owl eggs hatch, the downy owlets are the size of newborn chickens. Their mother broods them day and night. A few weeks later, the owlets can be left alone while both adults resume hunting at twilight. Great Horned Owl young remain in the nest for about six weeks, then climb out onto nearby branches. They begin taking short flights at seven weeks, and can fly well at 9-10 weeks.

Great Horned Owl: female on eggs!

March 21, 2017 in Great Horned Owl

_W7I6976-001In Massachusetts, Great Horned Owls typically start nesting in the middle of February, raising their families in the later stages of winter. The female will incubate the eggs while her mate brings her food. Within a month, up to five eggs will hatch and the owlets will be closely guarded by their parents. Six weeks after hatching, the owlets will leave the nest and walk around. In another three weeks, the young owls will already have learned to fly. The parents will continue to feed and care for their offspring for several months, often as late as October. It is wise to stay away from young owls and their nests as Great Horned Owls are not afraid to attack if they feel their family is threatened!

Great Horned Owl: female on nest

February 24, 2017 in Great Horned Owl

_W7I2364-002Quite a treat, after searching high a low, and almost giving up, to just barely see the large “ears” of a female Great Horned Owl on nest this afternoon. She was sitting so low in the nest, her ears were a big challenge to find behind the sticks in an old nest.

Excerpt from Mass Audubon Breeding Bird Atlas I below.

The Great Horned Owl is the earliest nester of our native birds, usually laying its eggs between February 20 and March 25. The clutch almost always consists of two eggs, but the range can be from one to three, and sometimes four. One brood is raised each season, and on rare occasions a second clutch is produced if the first is lost. Incubation usually begins with the first egg and is performed by the female for 28 to 30 days. She will remain on the nest even during severe weather conditions and may be found covered with snow.

Great Horned Owls: branching!

May 18, 2016 in Great Horned Owl

The young Great Horned Owls are becoming more mobile around their nest. They are stretching and testing their wings, and actively climbing around nearby branches. Quite a sight! Had a wonderful opportunity to observe the owlets late afternoon Wednesday in stunning late day sunshine.

For those with an interest, 5 photos posted:

http://www.pbase.com/birdshots/image/163252323

 

 

 

Great Horned Owl and owlets!

May 18, 2016 in Great Horned Owl

CF2C0185-001The Great Horned Owlets are growing bigger each day with fledge time closing in!

Great Horned Owl and owlet!

May 11, 2016 in Great Horned Owl

CF2C9039-001The Great Horned Owlets just keep growing and getting bigger!  They will be branching soon and then fledging and making first flight!

Great Horned Owl and owlets

May 9, 2016 in Great Horned Owl

CF2C8685-001The mother of the owlets keeps a close eye on her offspring.  She keeps them close to her in the nest.  They are growing quickly and hold their heads up on their own.  The owlets are alert and very curious!  This was a morning visit under bright sun and blue skies.

Great Horned Owl & owlets in the rain!

May 4, 2016 in Great Horned Owl

CF2C8522-001A short visit late afternoon under overcast skies, winds out of the NE around 13-15 MPH, with light rain and temps around 40 degrees.  The owlets look a bit soggy and rain soaked…but hanging in there with warmer weather on the way!