Great horned owlets nesting at Wildflower Center

One great horned owlet…

…two owlets…

…three owlets are nesting in a planting niche on a stone wall at the Wildflower Center.

I visited yesterday to take pictures of the raptor family and observed the three active chicks for 45 minutes. Mama owl was absent—taking a well-deserved break, no doubt—but you can see pictures of her over at Great Stems. For a sense of scale, here’s a wider view of the wall; their nest is built in the planting niche at the upper right, under the blue sotol. If you have sharp eyes, you can see one chick looking out of the nest, while visitors to the garden stroll around and gaze at the pond, unaware that they’re being watched.

Thanks to our screech owl nesting box at home, I’ve had the opportunity to observe baby screeches and their parents. We also hear great horned owls in our garden (theirs are the traditional whoo-hooo calls), but I’d never seen any great horned chicks. Let me tell you, they are big birds.

I’d love to see the mother owl and plan to bring the kids over to see them before the chicks leave the nest. I wonder how much longer until they fledge?

All material © 2006-2011 by Pam Penick for Digging. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

12 Responses

  1. Jenny says:

    You certainly have a way with owl shots. I was there last week and people were taking photos of the babies but i didn’t have my camera with me. I doubt I would have got such wonderful close ups. Funny little guys. An owl nested there last year but was on the tower. Must take my camera next week.

    The telephoto lens helped with the close-ups, but I neglected to bring my tripod. That’s what I’ll take next time. —Pam

  2. Caroline says:

    So adorable, but with such wise-looking eyes. Hoo! Great shots.

  3. linda scott says:

    Absolutely beautiful!

  4. Layanee says:

    You have outdone yourself with the chick photos. Faces only a mother could love.

    They do look rather fierce, don’t they? —Pam

  5. Meredith got the shots of the mom, and you got the chick photos. =)

    (I still think they look like puppets. Sort of owl muppets. )

    They really do! But I assure you it’s not an elaborate hoax, Alan. They move and blink and shuffle around on the nest. —Pam

  6. Great shots…again.

  7. Amazing photos of these chicks! I love owls and look for them every chance I get, but I usually find owlets 100 feet up in trees and have never gotten amazing photos like these.

    I felt lucky to be able to photograph them in such a visible spot. I still wished for a small stepladder though. —Pam

  8. Meredith says:

    Ooh, three! I was told there were only two. Now I must go back, too! I’m glad our two photo sets tell the whole story. I’ll update my post to link to yours. Great shots, Pam!

  9. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    Aren’t they darling. They aren’t very old since they don’t have any flight feathers yet. I don’t know how long they will be there. They will get real fussy and blustery when they get a little older. What fun to have some so close to watch.

  10. Les says:

    Amazing, fascinating, a great opportunity, good photography – but cute they ain’t.

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