Great Horned Owl Chicks

Great Horned Owl Chicks

Great Horned Owl Chicks, photo by Harold Davis. View this image larger.

My wonderful Pilates teacher Jennifer Durning told me about the Great Horned Owls in Claremont Canyon, Oakland.

Three Great Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus) chicks sit in a nest about twenty-five feet above a wide path. While I was there, Mom and Dad hovered higher up in nearby trees.

The nest has been there for about a month, and is pretty well-known locally. I climbed up the hillside and spent the afternoon looking straight across at the chicks. In the hours I spent before it got too dark to photograph, there was a real social scene with bird lovers and photographers checking in. Some of these people visited the owls daily.

These “babies” are surprisingly large, perhaps a cat is a good comparison size-wise. As you can see, there’s quite a range of size in the siblings, with the one in front much smaller than the other two. They seemed to interact well with each other, engaging in mutual grooming, and nuzzling each other. They slept for much of the afternoon.

Looking at the antics of the clutch, I could help thinking of my three kids. Owls, humans, what’s the difference?

[Nikon D300, 70-200mm VR zoom lens with 2X telexender at 400mm (600mm in 35mm terms), 1/250 of a second at f/5.6 and ISO 320, tripod mounted.]

Posted in Bemusements, Photography