Saturday, April 18, 2009

Owl-watching: Part 1

"They are banding the Great Horned Owl chick at Lake Isabella on Friday night," the e-mail read. "Do you want to come?"

DO I?!

It pays to know people. When Susan e-mailed me about the RAPTOR, Inc. event, I was so psyched. While I have seen and heard my fair share of Great Horned Owls, and even held and flew one in vet school with our Raptor Rehab group, I have never seen a baby up close and personal. Dude, I'm there!

I got so many photos last night, I can make a whole week of posts, so be prepared. For the next few days, you will be tuned to the "All-Owl Channel."

It wasn't hard to find the spot. Even if I didn't know where the owl's nest can was, I would just have had to follow the crowd. There were more huge lenses with cameras attached than one could shake a stick at. The collective value of the optics at that one small gathering could correct the budget deficit.

Here's what all the fuss was about - the back side of an owl in a metal tub high in a sycamore tree.

"Hey! There's something in the bottom of this tub. What could it be?"

HERE is the real reason we are all standing in a park, waiting.One little owlet, right on cue.
Everybody, say "Awww!"

But, we are greedy. We want more. So, up the tree goes our intrepid climber, Jeff.

He reaches into the can and extracts the owlet.
With a metal band in his mouth, he prepares to permanently identify the little owl. Don't drop anything, Jeff! It's a long way down.

C'mon, don't tease us. Show us more

Jeff carefully lowers the owlet to a waiting volunteer.

Here it comes!

"I'm the baby. Gotta love me!"
(click to enlarge. Go on, do it!)

Bonus - A RAPTOR volunteer has been fostering a Great Horned owlet that fell out of a nest about 2 weeks ago, and tonight, they are going to attempt to place that one in the nest with our resident chick. Here's baby number 2.

Tomorrow - they meet.


holly-the-person said...

omg. Just OMG. Does it annoy birders to hear a non-birder say 'He is just TOO cute'? But really, he is. The fuzzy bloomers, the rippley soft feathering. It doesn't look like a hunter, it looks like someone's idea of a gremlin'd stuffed animal. Thank you so much for sharing!

Susan Gets Native said...

I don't think any birder can be annoyed when a non-birder thinks highly of a bird.

I have so much to post about, I don't know where to begin.

Nice pics, Kathi!

Lynne said...

OK. I enlarged it. I almost popped from the amazing coolness of that picture!


denapple said...

I am SOOOO jealous! You and Kathiesbirds BOTH have baby owl pictures!! Don't you just love your new camera?

Susan Gets Native said...

Reports are coming in that both chicks are still in the nest and the parents are feeding and preening both. See? GHOW's CAN'T COUNT.

KatDoc said...

Holly - We like people who like birds. Really, we do! Say "Oh, how cute!" three times out loud. You are nowhere near how many times I said that same thing that night. You want more cute? Wait till you see the next owl post!

Susan - I stopped by Sat. pm with my Mom and my spotting scope and let her see both owlets in the nest. They are moving around quite a bit, but seem to be content together. One of the regular owl watchers said he saw a parent bird feeding both chicks, so all is well.


dAwN said...

How exciting! Loved all your photos and of course I couldnt resist clicking on the photo to see all the wonderful owly detail!
Thanks for sharing this fun event.

Kathiesbirds said...

Awesome pic and worth the click! Just look at those pinions!