Friday, May 7, 2010

Owl's Well That Ends Well

Friday May 7 2010

In some cultures, the owl is a harbinger of doom and death.

(They're all so wrong.)

In some cultures the owl symbolized protection and wisdom. Athena, Greek Goddess of Wisdom, made the owl her favored creature.

Next to Ravens, Owls are a very special bird for me. They're beautiful and mysterious, and mostly hard to find - if you do see one, consider yourself lucky. One of my great jobs was doing spotted owl surveys. I've gotten to hold spotted owls when we banded them.

This spring I've been quite lucky to find several owl nests in the area - 2 long-eared owl nests and 2 great horned owl nests.

This is a family of great horned owls down the creek whose progress I've been following. The three babies always looked quite fierce when I checked on them, although they never showed alarm. Mom and dad pretty much totally ignored me.

April 26:

May 3:

May 6, the nest was suddenly empty! Did they fledge already? Those fluffy balls of feathers surely weren't able to fly already! We'd had a terrible wind storm the night before, and I was so afraid they'd blown out of their exposed nest, maybe fallen in the creek right below the tree, and drowned.

May 7:
I hiked to their nest, and this is what I found: all three babies had indeed fledged! (It takes 35 days from hatching to fledging - leaving the nest.) They were all in 2 trees 50 yards up and across the creek. Two were hanging out with mom and dad, and one sat in a tree by himself.

Owl's well that ends well for this owl family.

(Really, there's just nothing cooler than Ravens and Owls.)


  1. Great pictures. I love owls too. I actually spotted one in the tree outside my front door a few weeks back. He/she was very impressive. No babies though and no nest, just sitting on a branch. I hear the hoots every night so I'm sure the owl is still around.

  2. The babies look so cute...little guys pretending to be big shots. I bet they really got an ego boost from that first flight. So happy they found their wings before the winds did!

    Lucky you to see them.

  3. That is SO cool! They are just beautiful. I love owls - especially the little ones (they're all fuzzy looking and cute :o)

  4. Wow, I am caught up in the Molly barn owl story and it takes them far longer to branch... cool that they all made it throu a rough night okay. We had a really windy night here and the deck is filled with branches and leaves and bits of detritus. No fires around here though, which is what they were concerned with...

  5. I ADORE great horned owls. :)

  6. Whew that is a relief! I to was so lucky to have taken care of a Great horned when she came to the clinic I worked as an AHT with torn wing from barb wire. She was so awesome and would sit on my (gloved) hand....a memory I will not forget.

  7. That's one of the coolest things about the ride camp up Bate's Creek. Listening to the owls at night. Thanks for sharing such cool stories.

  8. As a member of the Raven Clan, I've thought a lot about the good/bad dichotomty that Western Civilization often imposes on non-human animals such as ravens and owls. People seem unable to see things as they are, to observe adn to appreciate the way teh natural world fits together. Perhaps because so many people are so cut off from nature. Thanks for "getting it," and helping to communicate your wisdom to others.