Saturday, April 9, 2005

Great Horned Owl

Our friend was mowing her yard (on a tractor — we have big yards out here!) when she spotted a little ball of bloody white fluff in front of her. The blood made her think she'd injured or killed the little thing, but actually it was just a rat that (apparently) momma bird had left for it to eat. The little guy was just fine. Our friend called my wife (the rescuer of all things in distress — especially if they're cute), and she got a towel around it and put it in an animal carrier. The local raptor rescue folks are on the way out here to get it; they'll take good care of it and reintroduce it when it's ready.

That incident led to a search for the nest, which they found in short order. A not very happy momma owl can be seen at right, along with the backside of at least one more fledgling owl (and we saw it move a bit, so it's alive). Debi had our trusty Sibley's Guide to Birds, and she identified it as a Great Horned Owl, southwestern variant. We were a little surprised at how white the fledgling is — but Sibley says there is some variation. The sighting of the nest resulted in a call for me and my telephoto!

Click on the photo for a bigger view.

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