Mar 02 2010

So cute

Published by at 7:23 am under Birds of Prey

Great horned owl mother and owlet (photo by Chuck Tague)
One of the highlights of my trip to Florida was a visit to Fort Matanzas National Monument to see the great horned owl‘s nest.

I say the great horned owl’s nest because it’s so easy to see that it’s become one of the Fort’s main attractions – at least to birders.

The nest is on the branch of a huge live oak about 20 feet above the sidewalk behind the Visitor’s Center.  It is so centrally located that everyone who takes the boat tour must walk beneath it.  The backyard slopes up from the live oak and on that rise the National Park Service has set up scopes with a view straight into the nest.  The father owl always perches nearby and there’s a scope on him too.  You can see the entire family close up.  Amazing!

The day I visited, mother owl was brooding her baby who sleepily stirred on the nest.  The baby yawned and blinked.  He stretched and poked at the ferns with his beak.  Mama sheltered him with her wing and Papa watched from his nearby roost.  All was peaceful.  This baby is well protected by two powerful adult owls with sharp beaks and talons and by signs and explanations from the National Park rangers.

Chuck took plenty of pictures while we were there and returned a week later to see how much the baby had grown.  Click on the photo to see what he looked like last weekend.

So cute!

(photos by Chuck Tague)

6 responses so far

6 Responses to “So cute”

  1. Kathyon 02 Mar 2010 at 8:18 am

    Doesn’t the Mama look so proud in both pictures…proud and protective. Sorry the weather wasn’t warmer for you Kate, but as we all know, this has not been a “stellar” winter anywhere!

  2. Steve Von 02 Mar 2010 at 8:39 am

    Cute! We have a cute new baby in Oakland too, my 3 week old daughter! I’m already planning on bringing her to Schenley Park for the fledge watch in a few months.

    Any idea who likes to perch on the steeple of the Church at the corner of 5th Ave and Aiken St.? I’ve seen it roughly once a week on my way home. Can’t tell exactly what it is because I don’t have a sunroof any more. Looks like a Red Tailed.

  3. Kate St. Johnon 02 Mar 2010 at 9:30 am

    Congratulations! I’m looking forward to meeting her.
    If you mean the church at 5th Ave & Negley it’s a red-tailed hawk that hangs out near Chatham University. There’s going to be a nest somewhere around there and hawk babies in May.

  4. Joy K.on 02 Mar 2010 at 6:49 pm

    What a picture of contentment. I’d like to rest under the wing of a mother owl, too.

  5. Steve Von 03 Mar 2010 at 8:41 am

    Yep, Negley is the cross street. Neat, I’m going to try and get some photos, it usually hangs out in a good spot for pictures.

  6. Cory DeSteinon 05 Mar 2010 at 9:53 pm

    I wish we had a popular owl nest in Pittsburgh everyone knew of. I search year after year with no luck!

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