Our great horned owls return each year to nest in a hole in an ancient cottonwood tree. It brings us such enjoyment to observe them and watch their progress. This young one is still learning to fly with confidence. It stayed put on an old branch as we walked nearby. The other young sibling and the male owl flew off as we approached.
This owl baby flew to a higher perch to observe us. We have watched it at dusk doing “touch and go’s” from the tree top to the hill side and back, ostensibly to improve his flight and landing skills, but to hunt for voles, mice and rabbits.
I could feel a pair of eyes on me, and when I finally sighted the female owl overhead, I was very careful not to do anything to alarm her. She can be fierce and has a wide wingspan that when she swoops down on you is completely intimidating. Her claws are her great weapon and are not something I care to tangle with.
I hope they aren’t surveying the neighbor’s chickens pens. They have been known to try for a chicken. We can recall as children our grandmother discovering an owl in the old chicken house and she grabbed a broom and gave it such a fierce whack it did not recover. I am relieved not to have lost any chickens to our owl family, and pleased that there are lots and lots of rabbits this years to feed a family of four.