Friday’s Feathered Friends-Great Horned Owl

Copyright ©2021 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Saturday I met some friends at a National Wildlife Refuge for some birding. One of those friends was Gordon. Some of you know him from his blog

We adhered to the the Corona Virus Covid-19 guidelines by each driving their own car, and when out of the car we wore our masks and stood well apart. I can’t tell you how great it was to see friends I’d not seen in quite awhile. We had great birdy day with great weather for it too.

Upon my arrival while walking to the duck pond I crossed paths with another birder whom I didn’t know, but I ask him if he’d been seeing good birds and he replied while pointing that there was a Great Horned Owl just down there, and told me where to look. When I got to the pond I shared this info with my friends and we all headed up the trail to find the tree. While the Owl wasn’t in the tree he or she wasn’t too far away and we got some great looks, and images of it.

It’s not “in” the tree where it has its nest, but what a great look we got here. Wide awake!

Here it is in its nest. Just a split in the tree.

Copyright © 2021 Deborah M. Zajac ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Fun facts about the Great Horned Owl- From All About Birds.

  • Great Horned Owls are fierce predators that can take large prey, including raptors such as Ospreys, Peregrine Falcons, Prairie Falcons, and other owls. They also eat much smaller items such as rodents, frogs, and scorpions.
  • When clenched, a Great Horned Owl’s strong talons require a force of 28 pounds to open. The owls use this deadly grip to sever the spine of large prey.
  • If you hear an agitated group of cawing American Crows, they may be mobbing a Great Horned Owl. Crows may gather from near and far and harass the owl for hours. The crows have good reason, because the Great Horned Owl is their most dangerous predator.
  • Even though the female Great Horned Owl is larger than her mate, the male has a larger voice box and a deeper voice. Pairs often call together, with audible differences in pitch.
  • Great Horned Owls are covered in extremely soft feathers that insulate them against the cold winter weather and help them fly very quietly in pursuit of prey. Their short, wide wings allow them to maneuver among the trees of the forest.
  • Great Horned Owls have large eyes, pupils that open widely in the dark, and retinas containing many rod cells for excellent night vision. Their eyes don’t move in their sockets, but they can swivel their heads more than 180 degrees to look in any direction. They also have sensitive hearing, thanks in part to facial disc feathers that direct sound waves to their ears.
  • The oldest Great Horned Owl on record was at least 28 years old when it was found in Ohio in 2005.

Late in the afternoon we returned to this refuge and went to look for the Owl again. It wasn’t in the nest, but perched on top of branch.

Great Horned Owl on a tree top

The Great Horned Owl is one of the most common owls in North America. It lives in deserts, wetlands, forests, grasslands, backyards, cities, and just about any other semi-open habitat between the Artic and the tropics. We were really excited and happy to see this one.

OT- My 11th Blogaverisary on WP was Wednesday I’d like to thank everyone who has followed me, left comments, for the conversations, lessons learned, and the friendships I’ve made with quite a few of you over the years. Thank you!🥰

Fuji X-T3| Fuji 100-400mm XF WR OIS lens| PS CC 22.1.0

more to come…

95 thoughts on “Friday’s Feathered Friends-Great Horned Owl

  1. I love how owls are so expressive. They can go from looking very sleepy and peaceful to looking almost angry, if not menacing. You’ve captured them very well. 🙂

  2. I love when photographers help each other, Deborah. Amazing photo of the owl! Congratulations on your 11th Blogiversary! You are a beautiful part of the online world, Deborah. xx

  3. Owls sure are magnificent looking creatures. You’ve captured them so beautifully, Deborah. Happy Blogiversary!! Cheers to many more!! 🙂

  4. Hello. I’ve stumbled onto your blog and I like it here. I’m looking forward to following. Thank you for this neat post. Although these owls are common, I’ve only seen one in the wild two or three times in my life so this was a very neat post to read and awesome images to get to see. TY for sharing.

  5. Congrats on your anniversary! 11 years….that’s awesome! How great was it to go birding? OMG! Fabulous captures of the Great Horned Owl. We haven’t seen one yet this year but it’s early. Wished I had been out there with you! 🙂

            1. I didn’t get a photo of them. hahaha! They were way out there. Barely made them out with my binoculars. They were out with a bunch of Brown Pelicans. I didn’t any Gannets last year so even this was exciting to get them on the list this year. It has been a long time since I’ve seen one close enough to photograph and I can’t find those pics. I have a damaged card so they may be there. 🙂

            2. I’ve only seen one gannet in the wild and it was pretty far from me too. I saw it though and was thrilled to see it. It was on one of the Farallon Islands outside of San Francisco a lone Gannet just hanging out with the cormorants and seagulls. It must have made a wrong turn somewhere to be there. 😀

            3. I’m not sure he was lost. They stay pretty much offshore here but occasionally you will see them closer. One year when it was super cold here in Jacksonville, there was one right along the beach on Amelia Island. I left my camera in the car. What an idiot! That was the closest I’d ever been to one and it would have been a great series of photos. I took the stand, at least I got to see it and it was amazing. 🙂

  6. Lovely shots! I particularly like the one of the bird peeking out from its nest. They have been quite active in our neighborhood, and last night one was calling rather insistently from our back yard. At bedtime I escorted my Westie for his bedtime outing, just to be on the safe side although if an owl grabbed him I’m not sure I’d be able to save him. I so love to have the owls here, and it is nice to see photos of them because mostly I just hear them.

    1. Thank you so much, Melissa! Oh, a Westie! I had that breed on my short list when we were looking for a dog a long time ago. We adopted Diva Dog who was a Bichon-poo. I’d put a Westie back on the list when we’re ready for another dog.

          1. I hear you. My little Pete fills up my heart and lap so perfectly I’m thinking I’ll never want another after him.

            1. Her loss was hard…still is actually. We’re not ready yet, but I know there’s another dog in our future. In the meantime I get my dog fix at Baby Girl’s house. They have two dogs that I enjoy and I take walks with the younger of the two. The oldest is 15 years old and doesn’t get around so well anymore, but oh, she’d love to come on those walks too like we did just a year ago.

            2. So sad to see them grow old and then to lose them. You have my heartfelt sympathy. I’m glad you get to see Baby Girl’s dogs.

  7. Great captures, Deborah and thank That ow for the shout out! It was a fun day birding; especially when I hadn’t been shooting for a few months. Starting off the day with owl was great; I got some shots of it in flight that I didn’t know I had until I downloaded my memory card. That Vermillion Flycatcher was also great birding adventure to see and shoot for the first time.

    I hope you have a great snowshoe adventure tomorrow but something tells me the lack of snow might curtail breaking out the snowshoes and just make a hike in regular boots the way to go. Either way, have a great hike and adventure.

    1. Thank you so much, Gordon! It was so nice to see you and hang out with friends. I’m so glad you were able to see and photograph the VF! It’s a great little bird.

      No snowshoeing. D will not be POD after all. He’s staying closer to home hoping to keep Covid-19 away. He’s not willing to risk it right now. It’s okay as we’ve not had any new snow and the days have been warm so it’s melting and freezing overnight which isn’t as much fun to snowshoe on.

  8. What a treat, Deborah!! Thanks for sharing it with someone who’s never seen one of these beauties in real life. Eleven years of blogging, eh? Congratulations. I just hit 9 earlier this month and when I think of blogging almost every day for that amount of time, I wonder what on earth I’m doing? 🙂 But yes, the friendships are worth it and there are many more benefits as well.


    1. Thank you so much, Janet! 9 years posting everyday is daunting to me. I started out my blog thinking I’d post everyday and it soon became apparent to me it wasn’t going to work so I made it weekly with the additional post during the week thrown in now and again. That works for me. There are so many benefits.

      We do need to do a meet up! Me there and you here!

  9. Who? (!) Congrats on your 11th! I celebrated my tenth last October but I am only posting once a month or so these days — spending more time on my memoirs and on my other blog, which is just family history.

    1. Thank you so much, Deb! Oh, I’ve never seen a Barred Owl in real life! How wonderful and Barn Owls are gorgeous! I’ve seen only 3 of them.

      Your trifle looked yummy btw! Happy New Year to you! 😀

  10. Happy Anniversary. I’m not sure how long I’ve been following you, Deborah, but I am sure I have enjoyed every post.

    Thanks for the beautiful pictures. I have heard owls nearby, but I have never seen one.

    1. Thank you so much, Dan! We have on occasion heard an owl right between my house and my neighbors, but we can’t ever see it as it’s usually really dark when we hear it hooting.

      I’d love to put in an owl birdhouse. I’m just not sure where I’d put it!

  11. It was great fun to tag along with your caravan, Deborah, and the GHO photos are fantastic! How very exciting for you all. I enjoyed the info, too. Great post.

  12. Happy Anniversary! What a great day you had outside in nature, camera in tow, mask on, and you got to share it with friends. Life is good! Those are absolutely great shots, and I love them all, but the first one caused me to smile and conjure up all kinds of conversations. Who are you looking at folks? 🙂

    1. Thank you so much, Judy! It was a good birding, and seeing friends day.

      LOL! I had a thought along those lines when I got home and uploaded my images and saw that Owl’s look at us. I was surprised it wasn’t sleeping somewhere, but it seemed wide awake. 😀

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