Hoot owls!

The great-horned owls were calling tonight so I ventured outside in the cold with my binoculars to see if I might find them….

In the dark, all I got was a silhouette (picture a big dark blob with ear tufts) about 3/4 of the way up the tallest locust tree in the yard. I could hear the female with her deeper voice nearby, but couldn’t spot her. I listened to their duet for ten minutes or so and then decided I’d had enough of the cold and was ready to go inside when the male owl flew from its perch. I followed him with my bins as he flew higher in the tree and attempted to mount the female who was perched on an outside branch of the same locust. As he mounted her, one of them screamed and he flew off to a closer locust tree which offered me a better view of him. Still a dark blob, but I was able to make out the suggestion of his creamy bib feathers. Very cool!

These owls have been calling for years in the neighborhood and it always thrills me to hear them. I guess they nest closeby, but can’t be sure as I’ve never found their nest. I don’t have much luck in finding nests anyway, other than the red-tails when they nested one year in a pine tree at Sickles Park just 50ft. or so from the road. I enjoyed watching them, but sadly that nest was destroyed in a late fall storm that same year.