“Don’t make any false moves!” . . . .
A pleasantly warm afternoon and signs of a false spring lured us out to clean up some downed tree limbs we have gathered over the past couple of weeks. We were about finished tending two huge bonfires when Rosie started barking at something up in the tree directly overhead. A great horned owl had been staring down at us for the entire time, and seemed unperturbed by our activities. The sight of two large fires and the accompanying smoke should have flushed him out and sent him on his way. We had been dragging limbs from underneath the very tree where he was perched, and he never moved. We sighted another owl as we returned to the house, and are hopeful we have a nesting pair that we can observe through the spring months until their fledglings are able to fly away with them.
“I’ll just keep an eye on him” . . . .
I was able to calm Rosie and get her to agree to quit barking at our visitor. She settled down in the leaves and grass where she could keep an eye on him. We worried that we had created such a disturbance the owl might leave. Since this guy seems determined to hang out, it is likely there is a nest nearby and a female sitting on eggs.
a few thousand left to go . . . .
This is one of 14 piles of tree limbs we have collected over the past two months. Each day on our walk, we stop and drag up a few limbs into a pile along the route. When the piles are so high they become perilous to reach with more limbs, we burn them and start over. A severe ice/snow storm last September brought down enough tree limbs to keep us busy for some time to come. Ranch recreation!
We caught a great horned owl peering into the window of our home office yesterday. This photo is taken through the window and we took several shots over a couple of hours. The only movement we could discern in that time was rotation of the owl’s head to look different directions.
For several years, a pair of owls nested in a giant ponderosa pine that stands near the house. One summer, they went about the business of raising their young in spite of backhoes, cement trucks, electric saws and nail guns from the construction crew who were working on an addition to the house directly below them.
Can this owl be considering that same ponderosa pine? We have had several sightings of the pair in various locations in the cottonwoods up and down the creek bottom, but have not been able to pinpoint a nest as yet. We are hopeful they will consider the pine tree once again.
The great horned owl serenade at dusk and dawn has come early this year. Usually arriving in early February, the hooting of two owls singing their love songs echoes through the bare branches of the cottonwoods these bitter January days. There have been a few sightings of them on our daily walks, even though they are well camouflaged in their winter plumage of grey and white. They peer down at us, completely motionless. If there is plentiful food, they will nest and raise their young. We are very hopeful and will follow their progress from a distance.